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What You Need To Know About™

Cancer of the Colon and Rectum

  • Posted: 05/26/2006

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The Promise of Cancer Research

Research on Prevention
Research on Screening and Diagnosis
Research on Treatment

Doctors all over the country are conducting many types of clinical trials (research studies in which people volunteer to take part). Doctors are studying new ways to prevent, detect, and treat colorectal cancer.

Clinical trials are designed to answer important questions and to find out whether the new approach is safe and effective. Research already has led to advances, and researchers continue to search for more effective approaches.

People who join clinical trials may be among the first to benefit if a new approach is shown to be effective. And if participants do not benefit directly, they may still make an important contribution to medicine by helping doctors learn more about the disease and how to control it. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, researchers do all they can to protect their patients.

If you are interested in being part of a clinical trial, talk with your doctor. You may want to read the NCI booklet Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies. It explains how clinical trials are carried out and explains their possible benefits and risks.

NCI's Web site includes a section on clinical trials at with general information about clinical trials as well as detailed information about specific ongoing studies of colorectal cancer. The Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER or at LiveHelp ( can answer questions and provide information about clinical trials.

 Research on Prevention

Research is being done to test whether certain dietary supplements or drugs may help prevent colorectal cancer. For example, researchers across the country are studying vitamin D and calcium supplements, selenium supplements, and the drug celecoxib, in people with polyps.

 Research on Screening and Diagnosis

Scientists are testing new ways to check for polyps and colorectal cancer. NCI-supported researchers are studying virtual colonoscopy. This is a CT scan of the colon. It makes x-ray pictures of the inside of the colon.

 Research on Treatment

Researchers are studying chemotherapy and biological therapy. They are studying new drugs, new combinations, and different doses. In addition, researchers are looking at ways to lessen the side effects of treatment.

This text may be reproduced or reused freely. Please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source. Any graphics may be owned by the artist or publisher who created them, and permission may be needed for their reuse.