Our specialists are at the forefront of discovering new techniques for colon cancer treatment that further improve patients' lives.
A group of specialists will review your case and develop treatment plans to meet your needs. The group may include:
- Medical oncologists
- Radiation oncologists
Doctors almost always use surgery to treat colon and rectal cancer. They can often remove and cure it when they find and treat it early.
If the cancer has spread into the wall of the colon or further, you may also need radiation or chemotherapy.
Radiation therapy depends partly on the stage of the cancer. In general, treatments may include:
- Chemotherapy to kill cancer cells
- Surgery (most often a colectomy ) to remove cancer cells
- Radiation therapy to destroy cancerous tissue
Stages of Colon Cancer
Stage 0 colon cancer may be treated by removing the cancer cells, often during a colonoscopy. For stages I, II, and III cancer, more extensive surgery is needed to remove the part of the colon that is cancerous
Almost all patients with stage III colon cancer should receive chemotherapy after surgery for approximately 6 - 8 months. Chemotherapy is also used to treat patients with stage IV colon cancer to improve symptoms and prolong survival.
For patients with stage IV disease that has spread to the liver, various treatments directed specifically at the liver can be used. This may include:
- Burning the cancer (ablation)
- Cutting out the cancer
- Delivering chemotherapy or radiation directly into the liver
- Freezing the cancer (cryotherapy)
Although radiation therapy is occasionally used in patients with colon cancer, it is usually used in combination with chemotherapy for patients with stage III rectal cancer.
Cancer is, in many cases, a treatable disease if caught early.
How well you do depends on many things, including the stage of the cancer. In general, when treated at an early stage, the vast majority of patients survive at least 5 years after their diagnosis. (This is called the 5-year survival rate.) However, the 5-year survival rate drops considerably once the cancer has spread.
Call your health care provider if you have:
- Black, tar-like stools
- Blood during a bowel movement
- Change in bowel habits
Colon cancer can almost always be caught in its earliest and most curable stages by colonoscopy. Almost all men and women age 50 and older should have a colon cancer screening. Patients at risk may need screening earlier.
Colon cancer screening can find precancerous polyps. Removing these polyps may prevent colon cancer.
Dietary and lifestyle modifications are important. Some evidence suggests that low-fat and high-fiber diets may reduce your risk of colon cancer.