COLON CANCER TREATMENT
ANCHOR LEAD: PATIENTS WITH COLON CANCER SHOULD BE ASKING THEIR DOCTOR SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
New evidence from the Mayo Clinic supports an observation made some years ago that some people with colon cancer not only won’t benefit from chemotherapy, they may actually experience earlier death as a result. Patrick Okolo, a gastroenterologist at Johns Hopkins, says patients can ask one very specific question.
OKOLO: I think anybody who has a stage 2 or less cancer should ask their doctor about this: what is the molecular basis for my cancer? So one step further than just the stage itself, and patients if you are not somebody who has the regular type, which is the microsatellite instability type, these are patients who should not expect to have chemotherapy if they have stage 2 or less. :23
People with colon cancer should have their tumors analyzed to find out if they have so called DNA mismatch repair, and if so, should decline chemotherapy. Okolo predicts that earlier stage cancers will also be analyzed for these characteristics. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.