Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium

Some Patients with Rectal Cancer May Safely Avoid Surgery

A recent review of information from 145 patients with rectal cancer suggests that those who had no signs of cancer after receiving a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy could safely avoid or postpone surgery. This approach, called active surveillance or watch-and-wait, means that patients have frequent follow-up testing to look for signs that the cancer has worsened or re-grown before needing surgery. This can help many patients avoid the risks of surgery for rectal cancer, which can include bowel problems and decreased sexual function.

Improved Chemotherapy and Targeted Therapy Options for Patients with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

In two recent studies, researchers found that a newer approach to chemotherapy and a new targeted therapy helps patients with metastatic colorectal cancer live longer. One study compared two different chemotherapy regimens (combinations of drugs) plus the targeted therapy drug bevacizumab (Avastin) as initial treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer. In the other study, researchers looked at adding the targeted therapy ramucirumab (Cyramza) to standard chemotherapy for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer that had worsened after initial treatment.

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