When it comes to treatment for colon cancer, there are different stages, risk factors, and options. These stages are used by doctors as a general guide and will help determine what kind of treatment is best for your individual condition. A cancer has reached a certain stage if it has spread beyond the colon, or is in a later stage. The stage of colon cancer in which your disease is in the early stages is called carcinoma in situ. This type of cancer is easy to treat, as it has not yet spread to distant sites.
Surgery to remove a portion of the colon is known as a colectomy. During the procedure, the surgeon removes the affected portion of the colon and the lymph nodes nearby, reducing the risk of spreading the disease. The surgeon will then reattach the colon to the remaining healthy portion, which may be called an anastomosis. In certain patients, doctors may remove lymph nodes in the abdominal wall in order to detect the presence of cancer cells in these lymph nodes.
After removing the tumor, a pathologist will look at the tissue, including lymph nodes, to see whether there are any signs of colon cancer. The biopsy may be performed during surgery, or it may be performed through a technique called endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration. The carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) blood test is also commonly performed to detect cancer cells. Although not conclusive, this test can be used in conjunction with other tests to determine whether the patient has cancer.
The type and stage of colon cancer will determine the type of treatment a patient receives. The doctor will consider a patient’s age, overall health, and other factors when choosing the most effective treatment option. Surgery is the primary treatment for early stage colon cancer. It can also be used to remove polyps if the polyp is attached to the wall of the colon. The goal of colon cancer treatment is to remove the cancer or to lessen the symptoms of the disease.
While the rates of colon cancer among Americans are still relatively low, they are increasing in younger people. The African-American race is particularly susceptible to the disease, although the risk increases with age. Those with inflammatory bowel conditions and colorectal cancer are also at increased risk. It is important to get routine screenings for colorectal cancer to detect any symptoms early. And if you have a family history of colon cancer, consult your doctor right away.
Fluorouracil-based chemotherapy has been the standard of care for stage III colon cancer. The NSABP C-07 phase III clinical trial evaluated the effectiveness of oxaliplatin in patients with Stage III Cca. After two months of FU/LV, patients had a median DFS of over six months. However, this standard of care is not considered a cure for CRC, so the newest treatment options are more aggressive.