YOUR HEALTH: New targeted chemo kills colorectal cancer

Approximately 1.8 million people will be told they have cancer in 2022.
Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 5:09 AM CDT
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CHICAGO (IVANHOE NEWSWIRE) - A new study supports a delivery system used in the nineties to target some of the hardest-to-treat cancers without impacting the rest of the body.

The first line of defense against cancer usually involves chemotherapy, and the number of people who will need chemo is expected to double in the next 20 years.

Stephen Lynch knows about the struggles that come with battling cancer all too well. He was thrown a curve ball a few years ago when a colonoscopy revealed he had cancer.

“A fear shoots through you. You go from, I’m healthy to I have a mass,” Lynch said.

Chemo and surgery held cancer at bay for a year, but then two lesions showed up in his liver. It had advanced to stage four. His care team at Northwestern Memorial Hospital recommended the only FDA-approved HAI pump that delivers chemo directly to the liver.

“It’s the size of a hockey puck, and we install it in the abdominal wall,” explains Ryan Merkow, MD, director of the GI Oncology Regional Therapies Program at the Lurie Cancer Center at Northwestern Medicine.

A catheter attaches to the pump and delivers chemo into a main artery feeding into the liver.

“It’s unique in that we can deliver very high doses of chemotherapy into the liver at concentrations of three to 400 times what the liver would normally seek compared to systemic chemotherapy,” Dr. Merkow further explained.

The chemo doesn’t exit the liver and doesn’t affect the rest of the body. With standard chemo, Lynch had a 50 percent chance of no recurrence. But with the new pump, his chances increase to 80%.

A recent scan showed no evidence of cancer and allowed Lynch to stop worrying about cancer and focus on his family.

“I know I’ve got today. I know everything’s good right now. Let’s live it up and enjoy that,” said Lynch.

Stephen Lynch is one of 106,000 new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed each year. The rate of people being diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year has dropped significantly since the mid-1980 ′s. That’s mainly due to the fact people are getting screened earlier.

The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer get their first colonoscopy at age 45 and then every 10 years after that.

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