There are many different treatment options for colon cancer, and the type of treatment you receive will depend on your personal circumstances. The stage and extent of your cancer will also play a role in how your doctor treats you. Surgery is usually the main treatment for people whose colon cancer has not spread to other parts of their body. Sometimes, you’ll be given chemotherapy after surgery, called adjuvant treatment. Most of this treatment lasts around six months.
Chemotherapy is often given along with radiation therapy or surgery to help shrink tumors and control symptoms. It is most effective in advanced stages of the disease and is used to control the disease’s spread and symptoms. During a treatment, the doctor will determine the best chemotherapy agent and the best regimen to use. Chemotherapy is usually given via a vein, although some types can be taken by mouth. The medical oncologist will decide the right chemotherapy regimen for each patient.
Biological therapies are another option for colon cancer treatment. Monoclonal antibodies can bind to cancer cells and prevent them from growing or spreading. These are given in the doctor’s office or at a hospital or clinic. In some cases, chemotherapy and radiation are given at the same time. Radiation therapy involves the use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. These are generally administered through a linear accelerator five days a week for several weeks.
One method of colon cancer treatment is radioembolization. This technique delivers radiation to the colon while sparing healthy cells. A catheter is placed into the patient’s arm, and the microspheres travel through the bloodstream to the tumor. The radiation gradually decreases over the course of several weeks, then disappears completely. This type of therapy is particularly effective in treating colorectal cancer, which has spread to bones.
While surgery is the first course of treatment, other types of treatment may be necessary. Adjuvant chemotherapy is administered after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. While the ASCO does not recommend undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy for most people with stage II colon cancer, it may be recommended in specific cases, including cancers that have spread to nearby organs, bowel walls, or have a high risk of recurrence.
There are many different Treatment Options For colon cancer with surgery and radiation. A partial colonectomy (also known as a bowel resection) involves removing the cancer and a small amount of healthy tissue surrounding it. It is often followed by anastomosis, which stitches healthy parts of the colon back together. For some people, surgery may not be enough and a stoma is required.
Depending on the stage of colon cancer and the location of the cancer, patients may require a combination of radiation therapy and surgery. Radiation therapy may be used to shrink the tumor prior to surgery or after surgery. Patients may need follow-up tests following treatment to monitor the effects of the treatments. In some cases, patients may be eligible for clinical trials of drugs. If a cancer recurrence is anticipated, a treatment trial could offer better results than the standard regimen.
If you are diagnosed with colon cancer, you may be interested in finding out more about targeted therapies. These are treatments that use drugs to specifically target cancer cells, without harming healthy cells. One type of targeted therapy is radioembolization. During this treatment, a physician inserts a catheter into your arm and places radioactive beads into blood vessels feeding the tumor. The beads travel through the bloodstream and eventually become stuck in the tiny blood vessels in the tumor’s walls. After a few weeks, the radioactivity begins to decrease and then disappear entirely.
Another targeted therapy is immunotherapy, also known as biological therapy. This treatment uses your body’s immune system to fight cancer. Because cancer cells are capable of tricking the immune system, treatment that works by stimulating the immune system to kill the cancer cells has shown promise. Cellular therapies and checkpoint inhibitors are also being studied in clinical trials at City of Hope. This type of therapy is targeted toward patients with MSS-mutations, and may be particularly effective against MSI-H tumors.