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The Alliance funds research to advance its mission of ending colorectal cancer within our lifetime. We are currently accepting research grant proposals through October 1, 2018, in three key areas: young-onset colorectal cancer, rectal cancer, and colorectal cancer prevention. But how did we choose these three areas of research?

Young-onset colorectal cancer

Young-onset colorectal cancer is rising at an alarming rate. Scientists are now reporting a sharp rise in colorectal cancers in adults as young as their 20s and 30s. A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute states that adults born around 1950, compared with those born around 1990, have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer. This is a growing health crisis and funding research that focuses on the risk factors and causes associated with this rising trend as well as prevention and early detection strategies for this age group is critical to ending this disease.

Rectal cancer

While outcomes for rectal cancer surgery have improved significantly over the past 20 years, with increasing rates of survival and decreasing rates of recurrence, surgeons have become increasingly aggressive in avoiding resection of the anus, and they have begun accepting bowel dysfunction, also known as Low Anterior Resection Syndrome, as a normal outcome. This can have significant impact on quality of life and results in many patients opting for a permanent colostomy. Funding research that concentrates on the psychosocial impacts of rectal cancer and the overall social influence on daily survivorship, as well as the exploration and recommendations for improvements in the number of cases associated with Low Anterior Resection Syndrome, is pivotal to improving quality of life and survival rates for those suffering from rectal cancer.

The Alliance is also interested in the following research topics:

  • The risk factors and causes associated with the rise in rectal cancer in adults 55 and younger.

  • Prevention and early detection strategies for reducing the incidence and death rates associated with rectal cancer.

  • Better mechanisms for increasing the long-term survival rates of those with rectal cancer.

  • The psychosocial impacts of rectal cancer and the overall social influence on daily survivorship.

Colorectal cancer prevention

The death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women over 50 for several decades. It is believed that the reason for this downward trend is due largely to an increase in prevention and early detection strategies. Given colorectal cancer’s preventative potential, it is imperative that we continue to move the needle in decreasing the incidence and death rates associated with this disease, bringing us one step closer to ending colorectal cancer in our lifetime. Supporting research that improves colorectal cancer screening compliance, improves patient understanding of colonoscopy results, their personal and family risk, as well as new mechanisms for disease prevention and recurrence is key.

Colorectal cancer research is vastly underfunded, and the Alliance believes that, based on current trends, it will see the greatest impact by supporting these key research areas.

Up to three 2-year grants at $125,000 each will be awarded in young-onset colorectal cancer.  One 2-year grant at $150,000 will be awarded in colorectal cancer prevention, and one 2-year grant at $250,000 will be awarded in rectal cancer. For more information about the research grants, please visit www.ccalliance.org/funding-research/apply-for-research-grant.

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