Colon Cancer

What you need to know about Colon Cancer

Incidence & Mortality

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimated that approximately 1.2 million new cases of colorectal cancer (CRC) were diagnosed in 2008 (9.8% of all new cancer cases) making CRC the fourth most common cancer worldwide. In addition, CRC accounted for over 600 000 of the 7.6 million cancer deaths.

Risk Factors

Although CRC is mainly a disease of the high-income countries, there has been a rapid increase in rates of low and middle income countries that have recently made the transition from a relatively low- or middle-income economy, such as Japan, Singapore, and eastern European countries. This is also reflected by the fact that the percentage of the new CRC cases recorded in the more developed regions dropped from 65% in 2002 to 59% in 2008. These changes are partly due to the aging population of low and middle income countries but also due to the link of CRC with several dietary factors and lifestyle habits. In particular, several components of the diet have been linked with increased (red and processed meat intake) or decreased (dietary fiber, fruit and vegetables, vitamin D) CRC risk. In addition, lifestyle habits like high energy intake, increased body weight, low physical activity, smoking and high alcohol intake have been found to be associated with increased CRC risk.


In cancer care, different types of doctors often work together to create a patient’s overall treatment plan that usually includes or combines different types of treatments. This is called a multidisciplinary team. For colorectal cancer, this generally includes a surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, and a gastroenterologist.

Surgery is the primary form of treatment for earlier-stage colorectal cancer. The aim of surgery is the complete removal of the cancerous sections of the colon and/or rectum, as well as its surrounding tissue and mesenteric lymph nodes. After removal, the two unconnected ends of the bowel are joined together (anastomosis).

Chemotherapy is the administration of toxic drugs to kill cancer cells which may be found at the site of the cancer or elsewhere in the body after surgery. It is indicated for patients with advanced colorectal cancer at stages II, III or IV after surgery and improves survival rates.

Radiation therapy is the use of high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells. It is commonly used for treating rectal cancer because this tumor tends to recur near where it originally started. A doctor who specializes in giving radiation therapy to treat cancer is called a radiation oncologist. A radiation therapy regimen, or schedule, usually consists of a specific number of treatments given over a set period of time.

At International Cancer Specialists (ICS), we relentlessly strive to provide our patients compassionate and competent care. Led by qualified and experienced oncology clinicians and healthcare managers, as well as a multidisciplinary team of medical specialist partners (all of whom are UK or/and US Board-Certified), ICS stands ready to deliver cutting-edge patient-centered care in a welcoming environment.


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Sano, Y., Byeon, J.-S., Li, X.-B., Wong, M. C. S., Chiu, H.-M., Rerknimitr, R., … Sung, J. (2016). Colorectal cancer screening of the general population in East Asia. Digestive Endoscopy, 28(3), 243–249.

Kokki, I., Papana, A., Campbell, H., & Theodoratou, E. (2013). Estimating the incidence of colorectal cancer in South East Asia. Croatian Medical Journal, 54(6), 532–540.