October 24, 2006 08:00 ET


Study indicates greater need for awareness among COLORECTAL CANCER PATIENTS

Attention: City Editor, Health/Medical Editor, Lifestyle Editor, News Editor TORONTO/ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 24, 2006) - Only one-third of patients who underwent surgical resection for locally advanced colorectal cancer received a multivisceral resection, a procedure proven to reduce local recurrence and improve survival compared to standard resection, an assessment of 8,380 patients from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) registry revealed.

The study published in the latest issue of Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows only 33.3 per cent of patients were treated with multivisceral resection, a surgery to remove the cancer and adjacent tissues in nonmetastatic locally advanced adherent colorectal cancer patients. Multivisceral resection is part of current colorectal cancer surgery guidelines that have been adopted across North America and is recommended by the National Cancer Institute and American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.

"This study leads us to look at how much physicians and patients currently understand the option of multivisceral resection and provides an opportunity for more public awareness of its long-term survival benefits," says Dr. Calvin Law, surgical oncologist at Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre (TSRCC) and principal investigator of the study. "We found that multivisceral resection improves survival but is only performed in one third of patients with locally advanced colorectal cancer. Part of the reason may be that successful multivisceral resections require a comprehensive cancer team of oncologists working collaboratively. I feel very fortunate to be working at TSRCC in such an environment."

Despite what some may view as drastic having had 65 per cent of his colon removed in cancer surgeries, 57-year-old Bruce Beggs maintains a positive outlook and plays tennis, squash and golf. "Being receptive to advances in treatment," says Beggs whose father died of cancer at age 42, "I've managed 15 more years than my father so far."

Beggs was diagnosed in 1999 with colon cancer with adherence to the bladder. At first it was unclear if a cure was even possible. However, after meeting with the team at the TSRCC, he received a multivisceral resection to remove the cancerous portions of the colon and bladder. After seven years and further treatment for cancer at different sites, Beggs is presently free from colorectal cancer. He has surpassed all expectations given to him when he was initially diagnosed.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer affecting Canadians. Approximately two-thirds of colorectal cancers are found in the large intestine and one-third in the rectum. In Ontario, colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death.

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is transforming health care through the dedication of its more than 10,000 staff members who provide compassionate and innovative patient focused care. An internationally recognized leader in women's health, academic research and education and an affiliation with the University of Toronto distinguishes Sunnybrook as one of Canada's premier health sciences centres. Sunnybrook specializes in caring for newborns, adults and the elderly, treating and preventing cancer, heart problems, orthopaedic and arthritic conditions and traumatic injuries.

Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre at Sunnybrook is one of North America's largest and leading comprehensive cancer centres, a Cancer Care Ontario partner, and is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

/For further information: IN: HEALTH

Contact Information

  • Natalie Chung-Sayers
    Primary Phone: 416-480-4040