Treatment options for colorectal cancer

There are several options for the treatment of colorectal cancer. The treatment method that is taken up depends upon various factors, like: size of tumor, its exact location in the intestine as well as the stage of the cancer. Other factors that might have an influence of the method of treatment are whether or not the tumor is recurrent in nature and the overall health status of the patient.

The most common and feasible Treatment options for colorectal cancer include: chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. Let us read in some detail about each of them:


The most commonly taken up out of the treatment options for colorectal cancer is the surgical removal of cancerous tissue. The tissue affected by the malignancy along with some portion of surrounding healthy tissue and the nearby lymph nodes are removed. This is done to make sure that the cancer does not spread or recur.

After the surgery, stitches are given in bowel to bring it back to normal. At times, however, the rectum is completely removed. In such cases, a colostomy bag has to be attached to the patient to allow drainage and collection of stools. This may be needed for a temporary or permanent basis, depending upon the extent of removal of tissue and repair of bowel achieved. In early stages of colorectal cancer, surgery alone might be able to totally remove the cancer.


Chemotherapy involves the use of certain therapeutic drugs in order to destroy the cancerous cells or stop them from multiplying any further. This is one commonly employed method for treating the colon cancers. It is usually taken up before surgery to decrease the size of tumor.

There have been many advances in the field of chemotherapy in past few decades. Now, a special form of chemotherapy known as “Targeted therapy” is available. This kind of drugs help to target specific proteins in cancer cells and destroy them. Targeted therapy helps to prevent damage to healthy cells of the body and often has lesser side effects.

The most commonly used drugs for shrinking the size of colorectal tumours are: bevacizumab (Avastin) and ramucirumab (Cyramza). Chemotherapy has been found to significantly improve survival and morbidity in patients with colorectal cancer.


Radiation therapy makes use of very high energy beams of focused radiation for destroying the cancerous cells. This helps to destroy them and stop their multiplication this method is commonly used for treating rectal cancers rather than colon cancers, per se. For colon cancers, radiotherapy might help to reduce the size of tumor before surgically removing it. Radiation therapy as well as chemotherapy are used after surgery to reduce the chances of recurrence of colorectal cancers.


One of the treatment options for colorectal cancer includes Ablation. Ablation methods are used to destroy cancerous tissue without having to remove it. The various methods of carrying out Laser ablation are: radiofrequency ablation, ethanol ablation and the use of cryosurgery. These are delivered by the use of a probe or needle that is inserted in cancer tissue with the help of ultrasound or CT scans.

Malignant tumors can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated. The chances of a complete cure depend enormously on how early the cancer is diagnosed and treated.

The pace and extent to which a patient’s recovery occurs is dependent on various factors:

  • The stage at which the colorectal cancer was diagnosed
  • If or not, a perforation or obstruction is present in the colon because of the cancer mass.
  • The general state of health of the patient.

These were certain commonly employed treatment options for colorectal cancer. In Spite of ample treatment, colorectal cancer tends to recur in certain cases.

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