Postsurgical evaluation is essential for colon cancer patients, and blood tests will be ordered to monitor the recurrence of the disease. The cancer cells may be removed via laparoscopic surgery, which removes a part of the colon along with its surrounding tissues. Chemotherapy drugs travel through the bloodstream to the area where they’ve spread, destroying them. These drugs may be given orally or intravenously. Chemotherapy is used at different stages of colon cancer treatment to shrink the tumor and to help the surgery. Chemotherapy may also be given before surgery, in a process called neoadjuvant therapy, and after surgery, when the cancer has spread beyond the colon.
Surgery is the usual treatment for stage III colon cancer, although sometimes chemotherapy is used in combination with surgery. A partial colectomy involves cutting out the cancerous part of the colon and removing the surrounding lymph nodes. This is followed by adjuvant chemo. Most chemotherapy regimens for stage III cancer include FOLFOX (5-FU, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin), but some patients also receive a different combination.
A biopsy is another way to detect colon cancer. After a tumor has been removed, a pathologist examines the tissue with a microscope and looks for cancer cells. The lymph node biopsy may be done during surgery or as part of an endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy. A blood test called CEA assay may be performed to identify a person’s risk of developing colon cancer and monitor its treatment response.
Advanced colon cancer is treated with chemo. Advanced patients may also have radiation therapy. Radiation therapy can shrink the tumors temporarily, but will not cure them. It’s important to understand the goals of treatment and whether or not you have any other symptoms. A recurrence of the disease means that the cancer has returned after treatment. It may return to the same organ or to other areas of the body. If this happens, radiation therapy may be necessary to reduce the pain and symptoms.
Radiation therapy is another option for treating colon cancer. This treatment uses a powerful beam of energy to destroy the cancerous cells in the colon. It is often combined with surgery. It is also useful for treating colon cancer that has spread to distant organs. It may also be used as a preventative measure in the case of a recurrence. The radiation therapy helps control symptoms of colon cancer when the disease has spread to the other parts of the body.
Another option for colon cancer treatment is immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is an effective way to combat cancer cells by increasing the immune system’s response. It is given intravenously or orally and works to suppress the growth of tumor cells. The drugs are administered in specific doses and schedules, so that the cancer cells are killed. If surgery is not enough to completely eliminate the disease, chemotherapy may help shrink tumor nodules and relieve symptoms.