xColorectal cancer (CRC) is common, affecting >40,000 people a year in the UK. Most cancers are sporadic but a few, such as those occurring at a younger age, have a clear genetic basis. Most are situated in the rectum or rectosigmoid and cause rectal bleeding, often with a looser or more frequent stool. Right-sided cancers typically result in anaemia, because the blood in the stool is occult and unnoticed by the patient. Almost all symptoms of malignancy can also be caused by benign disease. Diagnosis relies on luminal imaging, with colonoscopy being the gold standard.
In November 1846, Henry Jacob Bigelow, a Boston surgeon, reported a breakthrough in the search for surgical anesthetics with the first uses of inhaled ether in 1846. This allowed patients to remain sedated during operations ranging from dental extraction to amputation. "A patient has been rendered completely insensible during an amputation of the thigh, regain consciousness after a short interval," Bigelow wrote. "Other severe operations have been performed without the knowledge of the patients."
Patients with interstitial lung disease associated with systemic sclerosis were treated with usual care plus placebo or nintedanib. The annual rate of change in forced vital capacity assessed over a 52-week period was −52.4 ml per year with nintedanib and −93.3 ml per year with placebo. There were no differences in other measures of systemic sclerosis.
In April 2001, Druker et al. reported a targeted therapy for chronic myelogenous leukemia. Based on the knowledge that BCR-ABL, a constitutively activated tyrosine kinase, causes CML, the authors tested with success an inhibitor of this tyrosine kinase in patients who had failed first-line therapy. The finding helped begin the era of designing cancer drugs to target specific molecular abnormalities.
xColorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths worldwide. This article reviews the aetiology and risk factors for CRC and focuses on strategies for prevention and early diagnosis. Prevention involves identifying and optimizing modifiable risk factors through public health awareness as well as population screening, for example using detection of occult blood in stool. Endoscopic surveillance in the UK is currently performed on a population basis with the bowel scope programme and faecal immunochemical testing, with colonoscopy reserved for patients known to be at higher risk of developing CRC.