The 5-year survival rate is more than 90% for people whose colorectal cancer is found and treated in an early stage, before it has spread. Unfortunately, only 37% of colorectal cancers are found at that early stage. As the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths, colorectal cancer remains a significant health problem for American men and women. Advances in diagnosis, screening, surgical techniques, and adjuvant therapy have improved survival over the past 30 years. Multiple clinical trials over the past 20 years have established several standard adjuvant treatment regimens. Although in their infancy, novel approaches to treatment of colorectal cancer offer potential for major advances in the management of colorectal cancer. Continued efforts that focus on disease prevention, along with a better understanding of the tumor biology, cancer immunotherapy, and gene therapy will yield more sophisticated and effective treatment strategies for all patients who either are at risk for or already have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. As increasing numbers of clinicians, scientists, and health care professionals continue to address these issues, better interventions and therapies are likely to emerge.
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