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.

In September 1811, John Collins Warren, a Boston physician,[2] along with James Jackson, submitted a formal prospectus to establish the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery and Collateral Branches of Science as a medical and philosophical journal.[3] Subsequently, the first issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and Surgery and the Collateral Branches of Medical Science was published in January 1812.[4] The journal was published quarterly.


xColorectal cancer is common with a lifetime risk of 5% and remains the second most common cause of cancer death, with low 5-year survival (55%). Early detection through bowel screening and surveillance of high-risk groups aims to identify early disease. Specialist surgery, despite the associated morbidity and mortality, offers the best chance of cure. Isolated multiorgan metastatic disease is increasingly resected, with good results. This article summarizes management of colorectal cancer, with a focus on early rectal and polyp cancers, which can pose management dilemmas.
Elsevier’s Medicine is a continually updated, evidence-based learning resource for trainees. It is an essential tool to help trainees achieve their postgraduate medical qualification, wherever you are in the world. It provides a concise overview of the latest medical knowledge and practice based upon the UK Core Medical Training curriculum, with each article written by invited qualified experts. Given its comprehensive coverage of internal medicine, this resource is also an ideal companion for GPs and consultants in the acute medicine setting.
In June 1948, Sidney Farber reported promising results in treatment of early childhood leukemia. Based on anecdotal evidence that children with acute leukemia worsened if they were given folic acid, he worked on blocking folic acid metabolism. His team gave 16 infants and children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia a folic acid inhibitor, aminopterin—10 showed improvement by clinical and hematologic parameters after three months.[11] In his article, Farber advised receiving the results cautiously: "It is again emphasized that these remissions are temporary in character and that the substance is toxic and may be productive of even greater disturbances than have been encountered so far in our studies," he wrote. "No evidence has been mentioned in this report that would justify the suggestion of the term 'cure' of acute leukemia in children."
A letter published in the NEJM in 1980 was later described by the journal as having been "heavily and uncritically cited"[14] to claim that addiction due to use of opioids was rare, and its publication in such an authoritative journal was used by pharmaceutical companies to push widespread use of opioid drugs, leading to an addiction crisis in the U.S. and other countries.[15]
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.[18]
×