source: National Health and Medical Research Council
Colorectal Cancer continues to be a major health problem for Australians, being the commonest Cancer in Australia (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). From age 40 there is increased risk for individuals which rises sharply after age 50. The latest national figures available in 2000, reveal Colorectal Cancer as being responsible for 13% of cancer deaths. (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australasian Association of Cancer Registries. Cancer in Australia 2000. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2000)
• The Guidelines for the prevention, early detection and management of Colorectal Cancer (CRC) are evidence-based. They have been produced by a multidisciplinary team and are proposed as basic for sound decision making. They are guidelines not rules and carry no sense of prescription.
• The guidelines are intended to provide a resource for all medical practitioners and health workers who require sound information directed toward the management of patients with Colorectal Cancer. These guidelines are wide-ranging in scope and provide information which covers prevention and screening, diagnosis and psychosocial matters, as well as the clinical aspects of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. High quality surgery is proposed as a gold standard and the Guidelines address training to this end.
• Emphasis is placed on good history taking and early investigation of the patients with symptoms.
• Familial CRC is addressed and the genetic background and assessment discussed. A directory to the Hereditary Bowel Cancer Registers in Australia and New Zealand is included.
• A time frame for follow-up for the management of epithelial polyps is proposed.
• Advanced Colorectal Cancer should be managed by a multidisciplinary team and includes a number of difficult issues, including the selection of patients for treatment who have liver metastases.
• Whole patient consideration is the basis of each recommendation for management after consideration of all and optimal use of the available modalities. The careful recording of comprehensive and consistent data and outcomes and encouragement of participation in well designed clinical trials is necessary to provide future strategies in prevention and reduction of mortality from Colorectal Cancer.
The Cancer Council Australia, Australian Cancer Network