Treatment: Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer treatment is not “one size fits all.” Depending on the stage of your cancer and your preferences about the available options, your cancer treatment plan will differ from that of others. Your plan will be unique and tailored to your specific needs.

The plan that your doctor recommends will be based on the type of your cancer, the stage of your cancer (I, II, III, or IV), and on whether or not you have been treated for cancer before.

The two main categories of treatment are local and systemic. Local are typically used to treat cancer in its early stages, while systemic are usually used to treat cancer that is further advanced.

According to the American Cancer Society, types of local therapies include surgery, radiation therapy, and ablation or embolization. The type of surgery recommended will be based on whether the diagnosis is colon cancer or rectal cancer, while radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. Ablation is the process of destroying tumors without removing them through a surgery or procedure, and embolization is the process of injecting liquid into the body to try to disrupt the flow of blood to cancerous cells in the liver.

Systemic includes chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. Systemic treatments are also known as drug therapies since they involve drugs being given either orally or through the blood. There are different types of chemotherapy designed to treat different types of cancer, including systemic chemotherapy, regional chemotherapy, and hepatic artery infusion. Targeted drugs are different from chemotherapy in that they can target cancerous cells specifically.

Your doctor can better inform you of the side effects that might be associated with your recommended  options. Your team of doctors and health care professionals will be a crucial part of your support system as you go through treatment for colorectal cancer.

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