Dramatic progress has been made in the prevention, detection and treatment of colorectal cancer. The five-year survival rate for early-stage colorectal cancer is now 90 percent, and overall mortality for colorectal cancer in the United States has fallen by 40 percent since the 1970s.
Recently, colorectal cancer has served as a proving ground for molecularly targeted therapies. Use of these treatments to attack tumors with a specific genetic profile can add many months to the lives of some patients with incurable disease. Researchers hope that by developing additional targeted drugs, and by combining them in new ways, they can continue to extend lives and cure more patients.