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Colorectal Cancer Treatment Options

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society's Cancer Information Database Editorial Board.

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Colorectal Cancer Treatment Options

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  1. Colorectal Cancer Treatment Options

  2. How is colorectal cancer treated? This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society's Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience. The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor. Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don't hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

  3. Types of treatments • After the cancer is found and staged, your cancer care team will discuss your treatment options with you. The main types of treatment that can be used for colon and rectal cancer are: • Surgery • Radiation therapy • Chemotherapy • Targeted therapy • Depending on the stage of the cancer, 2 or more of these types of treatment may be combined at the same time or used after one another. • To speak to a colorectal cancer informational specialist, Click Here

  4. Surgery The types of surgery used to treat colon and rectal cancers are slightly different, so they are described separately. Colon surgery Surgery is often the main treatment for earlier stage colon cancers. Open colectomy A colectomy (sometimes called a hemicolectomy, partial colectomy, or segmental resection) removes part of the colon, as well as nearby lymph nodes. The surgery is referred to as an open colectomy if it is done through a single incision in the abdomen. The day before surgery, you will most likely be told to completely empty your bowel. This is done with a bowel preparation, which may consist of laxatives and enemas. Just before the surgery, you will be given general anesthesia, which puts you into a deep sleep.

  5. Radiation therapy Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays (such as x-rays) or particles to destroy cancer cells. It may be part of treatment for either colon or rectal cancer. Chemotherapy can make radiation therapy more effective against some colon and rectal cancers. Using these 2 treatments together is known as chemoradiation or chemoradiotherapy. Radiation therapy is mainly used in people with colon cancer when the cancer has attached to an internal organ or the lining of the abdomen. When this occurs, the surgeon cannot be certain that all the cancer has been removed, and radiation therapy may be used to try to kill any cancer cells that may be left behind after surgery. Radiation therapy is also used to treat colon cancer that has spread, most often if the spread is to the bones or brain.

  6. Chemotherapy Chemotherapy (chemo) is treatment with anti-cancer drugs. How is chemotherapy given? Chemotherapy can be given in different ways. Systemic chemotherapy: Systemic chemo uses drugs that are injected into a vein or given by mouth. These drugs enter the bloodstream and reach all areas of the body. This treatment is useful for cancers that have metastasized (spread) beyond the organ they started in. Regional chemotherapy: In regional chemo, drugs are injected directly into an artery leading to a part of the body containing a tumor. This approach concentrates the dose of chemo reaching the cancer cells in that area. It reduces side effects by limiting the amount reaching the rest of the body.

  7. Targeted Therapy As researchers have learned more about the gene and protein changes in cells that cause cancer, they have been able to develop newer drugs that specifically target these changes. These targeted drugs work differently from standard chemotherapy (chemo) drugs. They often have different (and less severe) side effects. They can be used either along with chemo or by themselves if chemo is no longer working. VEGF targeted drugs Bevacizumab (Avastin®) and ziv-aflibercept (Zaltrap®) are drugs used for colon cancer that target vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF is a protein that helps tumors form new blood vessels to get nutrients (a process known as angiogenesis). EGFR targeted drugs Cetuximab (Erbitux®) and panitumumab (Vectibix®) are both monoclonal antibodies that specifically attack the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a molecule that often appears in high amounts on the surface of cancer cells and helps them grow.

  8. Thank you Source: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/colonandrectumcancer/detailedguide/colorectal-cancer-treating-general-info

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