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Founded in 1999, the Colorectal Cancer Alliance is a U.S. 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower a nation of allies and advocates who work with us to offer support for patients, raise awareness of preventative measures, and inspire efforts to fund critical research. In honor of the late Christine Sapienza, and for all the families who are affected by colorectal cancer, the Chris4Life Research Program was established in 2010.
The 2020 grant cycle is now closed. Additional funding for colorectal cancer prevention research may become available pending further financial support. Continue to visit our research funding page for future updates.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in men and women in the United States and is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women combined. According to the American Cancer Society, it is expected that 149,500 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed and 52,980 people will die of colorectal cancer in 2021. While the death rate from colorectal cancer has been dropping in both men and women for several decades, the five -year survival rate among all patients is only 64%. It is believed that a primary driver for this downward trend in mortality is an increase in screening, prevention, and early detection strategies. The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) currently recommends screening for colorectal cancer in adults beginning at age 50 years old. However, due to the rising incidence of colorectal cancer among young-adults who are younger than 50 years old, the American Cancer Society recommended in summer 2018 to reduce the initial screening age to 45. The USPSTF has released draft recommendations mirroring this guidance, with a final determination to be made in 2021.
According to the National Cancer Institute, since 1994, the incidence of young-onset colorectal cancer increased by 51%. Currently, about 1 in 10 new colorectal cancer patients are diagnosed before the age of 50. According to several studies, young-onset colorectal cancer patients are more likely to be diagnosed in late stages of the disease than older adults, and cure and survival rates among this group are lower. While screening eligibility may be part of this phenomenon, biology may also contribute. Several studies including a study by Willauer et al have reported that tumors in young patients are molecularly distinct from tumors found in older patients.
Disparities in incidence and mortality from colorectal cancer are also reported among certain racial and ethnic minorities. These differences can be attributed to barriers such as access to screening and services, knowledge of family history, as well as natural history of colorectal cancer impacted by gender, lifestyle, and the environment.
It is the Colorectal Cancer Alliance's mission to end colorectal cancer in our lifetime. By supporting young-onset and health disparities research, the Colorectal Cancer Alliance will be one step closer to achieving its mission.
The current grant cycle is closed.
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