Colorectal Cancer Recognitions - Safety & Quality - Stamford Health

Improving Colorectal Cancer Outcomes

According to the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 20, making it the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. The number of people dying from colorectal cancer has declined over the past 20 years, which is thought to be due to an increased use of screening tests and improved treatments.

Approach

The Bennett Cancer Center offers a specialty program for the treatment of colorectal cancer. This includes clinical expertise, advanced diagnostic technology, ongoing community outreach and identification of patients who are considered high risk, all of which serve to promote regular screenings and identify cancer at its earliest and most curable stage.

A multidisciplinary approach ensures patients have access to the best expertise and the best care possible. This brings together a team of highly qualified experts including gastroenterologists, medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, colorectal surgeons and a nurse navigator who provides a dedicated point of contact to connect patients with resources, provide education, facilitate communication with healthcare providers and streamline appointments.

The Hospital incorporates advanced pathology techniques, including a specialized test that provides a “Recurrence Score,” to help determine the likelihood that the cancer cells will spread within three years of diagnosis. This information can help patients and their healthcare providers make more informed decisions about whether or not to pursue additional treatment, such as chemotherapy, following surgery to remove the tumor.

There are ongoing educational activities throughout the year including National Colorectal Cancer Awareness month in March. Annual outreach includes “Lunch and Learns,” featuring Hospital experts, Dress in Blue Day for Hospital employees, and promotion of colorectal cancer screening and prevention at community events. These include the Fairfield County Women’s Expo, which is sponsored by the Hospital and attended by more than 5,000 people each year.

The first of its kind in Connecticut, the Bennett Cancer Center’s Familial Colorectal Registry is designed to track colorectal and associated cancers for those with a family or personal history of the disease. The goal is to educate families who may be at risk and, in doing so, reduce their chances of developing colorectal cancer. The Colorectal Cancer Risk Assessment Program utilizes a family history questionnaire at the time of screening colonoscopy/endoscopy to identify patients who may meet criteria for additional screening or genetics evaluation.

Results

Since its beginning, nearly 1,000 patients have completed the risk assessment, with 4% meeting the criteria for further evaluation. The Familial Colorectal Cancer Registry has ongoing accrual of patients who are eligible. Currently, there are 75 people who have chosen to enroll in the Registry.

To better understand how effective our approaches are in improving care, Stamford Hospital participates in the National Cancer Database. This allows the Cancer Center to compare its results to those of centers across the United States.

Click Image to Enlarge (Fig. 1)

As seen in Figure 1, nearly 40% of colon cancers diagnosed at the Bennett Cancer Center are diagnosed at the earliest Stages (0 and 1), in contrast to only 26% of colon cancers diagnosed at these stages in the United States. This supports the finding that our educational and screening efforts are effective.

Click Image to Enlarge (Fig. 2)

The main value of early detection and comprehensive treatment is longer survival. Figure 2 compares the five-year colon cancer overall survival rate of our Center with those across the country. As shown, our Center’s overall survival rate was 61% versus 55% for centers nationwide.

More information about colon cancer can be found at the American Cancer Society. Find out more about the Bennett Cancer Center.