NorthShore is a leader in research for women's colorectal cancer detection. Patients of the Women's Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Treatment Program have unique opportunities to participate in our research programs. Our physician-scientists use the latest medical knowledge to increase early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer, and they are actively developing and testing new techniques.

Researchers have found that gender may have a distinct role in colorectal cancer. For example, post-menopausal estrogens are effective for preventing colorectal cancer. Although men have a higher chance of developing polyps (nearly twice that of women), the lifetime risk for men and women of developing colon cancer is almost the same.

The Women's Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Treatment Program includes a group of NorthShore clinicians and scientists focused on understanding the distinct biology of colorectal cancer in women and developing gender specific cancer prevention strategies.

These include:

  • Less Invasive Testing: Early and promising success using optical technologies called biophotonics that can see the earliest changes in the development of colorectal cancer.  A light-scatter probe is used to test rectal tissue at the end of the colon and does not necessitate going through the entire colon. Computer analysis of the data from the backscattering light probe has proven to be promising in predicting either the potential for or actual presence of tumors located throughout the colon in initial clinical trials at Evanston Hospital. Evanston Hospital is leading trials with other clinical sites including University of Chicago Medical Center, Indiana University, Mayo Clinic and Stanford Hospital & Clinics at Stanford University.
  • Chemoprevention: Involvement in a National Cancer Institute Clinical trial using over-the-counter laxatives to help decrease the incidence of polyps in patients who have already had them.
  • Molecular Medicine: By identifying specific genetic and biologic markers, physicians can assess an individual’s risk of developing certain diseases.  Molecular medicine is evolving quickly,  exploring genetic and biologic markers to assess an individual’s risk for developing colon cancer.
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