What's treatment for colorectal cancer?
Treatment for colorectal cancer depends mostly on the size, location and extent of the tumor, as well as a person's overall health. Surgery to remove the tumor is the most common treatment for colorectal cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy also may be used to kill cancer cells. With new surgical techniques, treatment rarely requires a colostomy (an
opening into a "bag" for passage of bowel movements).
Surgery: Surgical treatment is by far the most likely to result in a cure of colon cancer if the tumor is localized. Very early cancer that develops within a polyp can often be cured by removing the polyp at the time of colonoscopy. More advanced cancers typically require surgical removal of the section of colon containing the tumor leaving sufficient margins to reduce likelihood of re-growth. If possible, the remaining parts of colon are anastomosed together to create a functioning colon. In cases when anastomosis is not possible, a stoma (artificial orifice) is created. Surgery is generally not offered if significant metastasis are present. Laparoscopic assist resection of the colon for tumour can reduce the size of painful incision and minimize the risk of infection. As with any surgical procedure, colorectal surgery can in rare cases result in complications. These may include infection, abscess, fistula or bowel obstruction.
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is used to kill tumor tissue before surgery or when surgery is not indicated. It is also used to sterilize the margins after surgery is performed. Sometimes chemotherapy agents are used to increase the effectiveness of radiation by sensitizing tumor cells if present. Radiation therapy is a specialized treatment using radiation to destroy rapidly growing cancer cells. This is usually reserved for treatment of rectal cancer and may be given before surgery, often in combination with chemotherapy. This treatment may shrink the tumor and improve the chances of avoiding a permanent colostomy in select persons.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is used to reduce the likelihood of metastasis developing, shrink tumor size, or slow tumor growth. Chemotherapy is often applied after surgery (adjuvant), before surgery (neo-adjuvant), or as the primary therapy if surgery is not indicated (palliative). The treatments listed here have been shown in clinical trials to improve survival and/or reduce mortality and have been approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration. Chemotherapy involves treatment with drugs that destroy fast-growing cells, like cancer cells. This treatment is given to persons with advanced cancers that have spread outside of the colon.
More information on colorectal cancer
What is colorectal cancer? - Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer includes cancerous growths in the colon, rectum, anus, and appendix.
What causes colorectal cancer? - Colorectal cancer is a disease resulting from mutations in epithelial cells lining the gastrointestinal tract.
What're the risk factors for colorectal cancer? - Risk factors for colorectal cancer include family history of colon cancer, age, smoking, diet, virus.
What're the symptoms of colorectal cancer? - Symptoms of colorectal cancer vary depending on the location of the cancer within the colon or rectum, though there may be no symptoms at all.
How is colorectal cancer screened and diagnosed? - Colorectal cancer usually is diagnosed by a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended in individuals who are at increased risk.
What's treatment for colorectal cancer? - Treatment for colorectal cancer depends mostly on the size, location and extent of the tumor. Surgery to remove the tumor is the most common treatment.
How to prevent the development of colorectal cancer? - Colorectal cancer can be associated with known risk factors. Many risk factors are modifiable though not all can be avoided.
What is a colon polyp? - Colon polyps are growths that stick out from the lining of the lower intestine. Polyps can develop anywhere in your large intestine.
What're the symptoms of colon polyps? - Smptoms of colon polyps include rectal bleeding, blood in stool, constipation or diarrhea, pain or obstruction.
What's the treatment for colon polyps? - For people with familial colon polyps, complete removal of the large intestine and rectum eliminates the risk of cancer.