n South African Gastroenterology Review - Colorectal carcinogenesis : molecular aspects : review

Volume 11, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1812-1659



Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth most common cancer worldwide and is the second commonest cause of cancer-related mortality. The life-time incidence of CRC in an average risk population is 5% and progressively increases after the age of 50. Although commonly regarded as a western disease associated with a western lifestyle, the incidence of CRC has steadily been increasing in the developing world. This is attributed directly to economic development and the adoption of a western lifestyle. It appears therefore that both genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development of colon cancer. Despite availability of effective screening strategies, aggressive surgical and oncological therapies, little progress has been made in the successful management of advanced CRC. This, despite better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in colorectal carcinogenesis.

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