Colon Rectal Cancer Treatment
Surgery can be used to diagnose, treat, or even help prevent cancer. Most people with cancer will have some type of surgery. It often offers the greatest chance for cure, especially if the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body.
Surgery is the oldest form of cancer treatment. It also plays a key role in the process of diagnosing cancer and finding out how far it has spread (staging). Advances in surgical techniques have allowed surgeons to operate on a growing number of patients with good outcomes. When a surgeon has to cut into the body to operate, it is called invasive surgery. Today, operations that involve less cutting and damage to nearby organs and tissues (minimally invasive surgery) often can be done to remove tumors while saving as much normal tissue and function as possible.
Types of Surgery
- If the cancer is small, localized in a polyp and in an early stage, it may be completely removable during a colonoscopy. If the pathologist determines that the cancer in the polyp doesn't involve the base — where the polyp is attached to the bowel wall — then there's a good chance that the cancer has been eliminated. Some larger polyps may be removed using laparoscopic surgery. In this procedure, a surgeon performs the operation through several small incisions in the abdominal wall, inserting instruments with attached cameras that display the colon on a video monitor. Samples may be taken from the lymph nodes in the area where the cancer is located.
- If your colon cancer has grown into or through your colon, a colectomy may be preformed to remove the part of your colon that contains the cancer, along with a margin of normal tissue on either side of the cancer. Nearby lymph nodes are usually also removed and tested for cancer.
- If colon cancer is very advanced or a patient’s overall health very poor, a surgeon may recommend an operation to relieve a blockage of the colon or other conditions in order to improve symptoms. This type of surgery is referred to as palliative surgery. The goal of palliative surgery isn't to cure the cancer, but to relieve signs and symptoms, such as bleeding and pain.
Chemotherapy relies on drugs to travel throughout the body and attack cancer cells. Our team of oncology experts assess and monitor patients throughout their treatment sessions and are always available to answer questions. They specialize in cancer treatment through medications, such as chemotherapy, hormones and pain management medication.
Medical Oncologists care for the patient from the moment of diagnosis throughout the course of treatment and past recovery. The focus of medical oncology is on “systemic therapy”, or providing treatments against cancer that has or could spread to other parts of the body, or in providing treatments to help shrink a cancerous tumor so the surgeon can more effectively remove it. Our experts also coordinate treatment given by other specialists.
Radiation therapy is used to kill any cancer cells that might remain after surgery, to shrink large tumors before an operation so that they can be removed more easily, or to relieve symptoms of colon cancer and rectal cancer.
Radiation therapy is rarely used in early-stage colon cancer, but is a routine part of treating rectal cancer, especially if the cancer has penetrated through the wall of the rectum or traveled to nearby lymph nodes. Radiation therapy, usually combined with chemotherapy, may be used after surgery to reduce the risk that the cancer may recur.
Targeted therapy is a new type of cancer treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack cancer cells while doing little damage to normal cells. Targeted therapies:
- Attack the cancer cells' inner workings – the programming that makes them different from normal, healthy cells.
- Alter the way a cancer cell grows, divides, repairs itself, or interacts with other cells.
- A major focus of cancer research today.