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Feature Article

Colorectal cancer: prevention, investigation and treatment

ANDREW KIAT, SHAHRIR KABIR, REBECCA SETON

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© KO STUDIOS
© KO STUDIOS

Abstract

The incidence of colorectal cancer has been falling overall but increasing among younger people, so prevention and detection of the disease remain important population health concerns. Early diagnosis and treatment confer a substantial survival advantage, and appropriate screening can aid with detecting the disease at an earlier, curable stage.

Key Points

  • In Australia, colorectal cancer remains a major cause of morbidity for adults and is the sixth most common cause of death.
  • Appropriate screening increases the likelihood that precancerous lesions can be removed and cancers can be detected at a curable stage.
  • Prompt colonoscopic investigation of rectal bleeding and other gastrointestinal symptoms also enables diagnosis of colorectal cancer at an earlier stage.
  • Treatment of advanced cancers is often multidisciplinary, involving GPs, gastroenterologists, surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists and palliative care physicians.
  • There has been increasing success in curatively treating selected patients with distant metastatic disease.

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© KO STUDIOS
© KO STUDIOS