Predict Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK, impacting around 43,000 people a year according to Bowel Cancer UK. Like all cancers, if you can predict colorectal cancer early enough, the more successful treatment is likely to be.

Now, a new study has provided hope that it may soon be possible to detect colorectal cancer before it’s even developed. It found that the gut microbiome could help predict colorectal cancer.

Here, we’ll explore the findings of the recent study, and how you can currently check for colorectal cancer so that potentially life-saving treatment can begin.

Study reveals differences in gut microbiome

The Dutch Microbiome Project Cohort study was conducted over 22 years and revealed groundbreaking insights into the gut microbiome’s role in precancerous colonic lesions.

There were significant differences found in the microbiomes of those with precancerous lesions. These variations were detectable up to five years before the lesions developed.

This discovery opens a potentially new avenue for early detection, suggesting that monitoring changes in the gut microbiome could serve as an early warning sign for colon cancer. This would allow interventions to prevent the cancer from developing in the first place, saving countless lives.

Could gut microbiome help prevent colorectal cancer?

The implications of these findings are substantial and could help in colorectal cancer prevention. Currently, the primary diagnostic method, Faecal Immunochemical Tests (FIT), has a 50% rate of false positives, and typically identifies cancer only after it has developed.

A method to detect and potentially prevent colorectal cancer before its onset could revolutionise patient care, saving lives by catching the disease earlier. The gut microbiome’s predictive capacity could be used as a tool in the fight against colorectal cancer, offering a way to identify those at risk of the disease sooner.

How is colorectal cancer diagnosed and treated?

At present, colorectal cancer diagnosis primarily relies on a colonoscopy, a procedure that uses a scope to examine the inside of the colon. During the procedure, pre-cancerous polyps can be removed and tissue samples can be sent off for analysis.

Blood tests are also taken, not for direct diagnosis, but to give clues about overall health and to track specific cancer markers over time​​.

Treatment for colorectal cancer generally starts with surgery, aiming to remove the cancerous tissue. Depending on the cancer’s stage and location, other treatments like radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be recommended.

Targeted therapy and immunotherapy are newer approaches that focus on attacking cancer cells more directly. This means either by targeting specific chemicals in cancer cells, or by boosting the body’s immune response against them​​​​.

If you have concerns about your colorectal health or want to learn more about advanced diagnostic services and treatment options, book an appointment with Mr Michael Stellakis.