Skip to content Skip to navigation

Online risk calculator for colorectal cancer unveiled

January 16, 2014
by Richard R. Rogoski
| Reprints

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic recently announced the development and launch of an online risk calculator for colorectal cancer that will make it easier for physicians to determine which of their patients should be scheduled for a colonoscopy. 

Because a number of factors can contribute to the development of colorectal cancer, the new risk calculator incorporates demographic information as well as height, weight, use of multivitamins, smoking and drinking habits, a person's medical history and other individualized factors to generate a risk percentage for the next 10 years. The calculator can be used for both men and women.

The advancement may assist in targeted, early screening for colon cancer among seniors: Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the United States, and 90 percent of new cases occur in people age 50+, according to the Colon Cancer Alliance.

The creation of this risk calculator, called CRC-PRO (Colorectal Cancer Predicted Risk Online), was based on data collected from the National Institutes of Health-funded Multiethnic Cohort Study. That study, conducted by researchers at the University of Hawaii and the University of Southern California, involved more than 180,000 people from diverse ethnic backgrounds who were followed for 11.5 years. Both lifestyle factors and genetics were considered in those who developed colorectal cancer.

The team of Cleveland Clinic researchers under the lead of Brian J. Wells, MD, PhD, a family medicine physician, analyzed the data and were able to determine risk based on key factors. Their results were published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

According to the researchers, what makes CRC-PRO more accurate than a similar one developed by the National Cancer Institute is that the Cleveland Clinic team worked from a study that followed more people for a longer period of time and which included individuals from a much more diverse ethnic and racial background.