Regardless of the location or type cancer is scary. Colorectal cancer is one of the top five most commonly occurring cancers in the world. For this reason, your primary care physician will have you test for it regularly after a certain age or if you have family members who have had this type of cancer. It is important that you have the testing done because the earlier it is detected, the sooner you can start colon cancer treatment and the higher the odds of beating it. Of course, how far the cancer has spread and the size of the tumors will determine the treatment. Here are the common ways doctors can help you fight this disease.
If conditions are right, surgery to remove any tumors is the treatment of choice. The tumors need to be of a certain size, and there can't be too many of them for the surgery to take place. Removing the tumors may be the only treatment necessary to get rid of the cancer. However, if the conditions are not right initially, doctors can use other treatments to make them right.
Chemotherapy may be done before or after surgery or as the sole treatment. When the tumors are too large, there are too many of them, or they have spread too far, you may need to undergo chemotherapy to shrink or kill off some of the tumors. This may make it possible for surgery to remove what is left. In addition, if surgery is not able to remove all the tumors completely, or they have spread beyond the surgical area, chemo may be used to kill off anything that remains.
In the early stages of cancer radiation therapy may be used alone to kill or shrink the cancer tumors. It is often used in conjunction with chemotherapy and can boost the effectiveness of the chemo. In addition, this therapy may be used after surgery to make sure that everything is gone.
It is important to understand that colon cancer that has spread to other areas of the body is still colon cancer. Just because it is now in the lungs, liver, or bone does not mean the patient has lung, liver, or bone cancer. This means that all areas will receive the same colon cancer treatment. You will not need to have different chemo drugs for each area. If necessary, the treatment will be adjusted with different chemo drugs or other types of treatment. It is not unusual to have chemo and radiation to shrink or kill some of the tumors, then have surgery to remove more, and finally more chemo and/or radiation to make sure it is gone.
Reach out to an oncology service like Alaska Oncology and Hematology LLC to learn more.