Young Patients Often Face Misdiagnoses When it Comes to Colon Cancer

Many younger patients see more than one doctor and face misdiagnoses before being given a diagnosis of colorectal cancer (CRC), according to recent research presented during a webcast ahead of the 2019 AACR Annual Meeting.

Researchers reviewed 1195 online surveys completed by individuals who were diagnosed with CRC before the age of 50 and found that 57% were diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 49; 33% were diagnosed between 30 and 39; and only 10% were diagnosed before the age of 30. Thirty percent had a family history of CRC and 8% were diagnosed with Lynch syndrome, which can be a genetic predisposition to the disease.

The majority of these younger patients (70%) were diagnosed with stage III or stage IV disease – a contrast to their older counterparts, who are more likely to be diagnosed at stage I or II disease, according to the researchers.

The researchers attribute this difference to lack of awareness and misdiagnosis, as over 60% of these patients waited over a year to see a doctor, and 67% of these patients saw at least two doctors before their diagnosis.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Learn more about how MSKCC is fighting colon cancer. The Infographic on this post is courtesy of the National Cancer Institute.

Converting Breast Cancer Cells into Fat, Painkillers Role in Cancer Survival, and More…

Below are highlights of recently published cancer research publicized in the news:

  • Scientists from the University of Basel, Switzerland, used new combination therapy with MEK inhibitors and the anti-diabetic drug Rosiglitazone in mouse models of breast cancer. The therapy inhibits cancer cell invasion, dissemination, and metastasis formation in mouse models of breast cancer forcing the trans-differentiation of breast cancer cells into adipocytes, or fat cells. For more, see study published in Cancer Research.
  • U.S. researchers found that regular use (6 months or more) of NSAID, or painkiller medications such as aspirin, was consistent with prolonged disease-specific survival and overall survival in head and neck cancer compared with nonregular NSAID use. The findings were reported in Journal of Experimental Medicine.
  • Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University found a way to stimulate macrophages ability to engulf and eat cancer cells by overcoming hindrances caused by inhibitory activity of CD47 protein. CD47 is a ‘don’t-eat-me’ signal that suppresses the phagocytic activity of macrophages. Read more about this in Nature Immunology.
  • An international group of authors established molecular hallmarks of tumor hypoxia across multiple cancer types. Hypoxia is an adverse prognostic feature correlated with tumor aggressiveness. The group quantified hypoxia in 8,006 tumors across 19 tumor types. Established patterns may offer insights into what categories of patients may benefit most from anti-hypoxia therapy and provide the basis for developing therapeutic agents targeting tumor hypoxia. The study was published in Nature Genetics.

Why are Men More Prone to Brain Cancer?

Glioblastoma, the aggressive form of brain cancer that killed Senator John McCain in August 2018, has been known for decades to affect men at rates almost twice as high as women. In a recent study, a team of researchers led Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have now identified distinct molecular signatures of Glioblastoma in both genders that may help us understand differences in patients’ response to treatment and survival. Check out the video below to learn more.