What Are Some New Treatments for Colon Cancer?

Dr. Gimbel talks about new treatments for colon cancer

new treatments for colon cancerCancer research is a big topic this time of year. But what about colon cancer research? Since the early 2000s, many new treatments for colon cancer have been developed. Some are becoming available for patients. It is very much a growth area in the medical field as more and more research is available. That said, many new treatments for colon cancer aren’t available to the wider public just yet.

Doctors understand the anatomy and the ways colon cancer develops much better than they did ten or even twenty years ago. More and more progress is being made each day. For more on new treatments for colon cancer, watch Dr. Mark Gimbel in the video below:

Mark Gimbel MD:  There are a lot of new treatments to help with colon cancer all the way from prevention through treatment and beyond.  When we talked about prevention of colon cancer, we are taking about how to we prevent it from growing in the first place.  There are some studies actually out there looking at chemo prevention.

When we talked about chemo prevention, we mean what medicines can you use ahead of time to help delay or put down the growth of colon cancer.  Some of the newer studies are looking at vitamins such as vitamin D, calcium to see if it can actually delay or decrease the amount of colon cancers that are out there.  There is some evidence to show this may actually decrease the incidence, but the data on that is still pretty immature and we cannot base any scientific knowledge on that yet.

We also look at something called Crestor or some of the lipid lowering agents.  These drugs have actually been shown in smaller studies to show that there is a decreased amount of polyps in the patient’s colons who are actually taking this medication, so there is a larger scale study looking at Crestor or the lipid lowering agents to see if this can be predicted or help preventing colon cancer in the future.  After chemo prevention, we then can look at some of the newer treatments for surgery if you are diagnosed with a colon cancer, are there any newer surgical treatments.

One of the newer modalities, if you will, on how we approach colon caner is we understand the anatomy better now than we did say 10 or even 20 years ago.  We know now that if you take out a certain number of lymph nodes and for colon cancer that number would be 12 within the surgical specimen, we have a better chance of predicting the stage of the colon cancer and how you are going to do in the future.

The other techniques are newer techniques that have been established using laparoscopic surgery.  Laparoscopic surgery is essentially minimally invasive surgery with small incisions and instruments that can do the surgery inside the abdomen without large incisions which increases the patient’s recovery, allows them to get out of the hospital faster, and it hasn’t shown any difference in the terms of the cancer outcome.  Not only do we have laparoscopic, but we also have robotic and the robotic instrument has been able to help us operate in titer spaces and do more inside the abdomen than we could with laparoscopic alone.

After the surgical round, we then move into the treatments afterwards, some of the newer treatments in terms of the chemotherapy or looking at new drugs and the chemotherapy regimens that have been studied by certain drug companies.  We are looking at drugs that have been used for other cancers that we are now trying within colon cancer or trying newer combinations to see if there is better effectiveness in treating the colon cancer.

We are looking at targeted therapies and the targeted therapy is a newer class of drug that we are actually using currently in the metastatic setting, meaning where cancer has already spread, but now we are trying to look at that and what’s called adjuvant or after you have been treated for the colon cancer, can we prevent it from coming back, so we are breaking new ground and a lot other treatments that’s exciting where we are going to and there is probably going to be a lot more treatments ahead that we can still look forward to.

Mark Gimbel
Dr.Gimbel graduated from the University of Maryland, and then had an internship at the University of Florida, Jacksonville and residencies at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. He spent two years doing a surgical residency fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York and completed a surgical oncology fellowship at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla.

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