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What Is Colorectal Cancer Therapy?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Colorectal cancer is a serious medical condition which causes harmful cancer cells to grow in the colon, rectum, or appendix. Treatment options vary depending upon the stage and location of the cancerous tissue. Some of the more common types of colorectal cancer therapy include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. In some cases, clinical trials may be an optional type of colorectal cancer therapy. Any questions or concerns about the different types of colorectal cancer therapy available should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Stage 0 colorectal cancer therapy generally involves surgery, with no other types of treatment being necessary. This is the earliest stage where the cancerous tissue is confined to one small area. In most cases, the cancerous polyp can be easily removed through surgical intervention. If the tumor is large, a small portion of the colon may have to be removed.

Colorectal cancer therapy for stage 1 usually involves surgery, although it is a little more involved than the surgical methods used for stage 0 cancer. In this stage, the cancerous tissue has spread throughout several layers of the colon, but it has not spread to surrounding tissues. The affected portion of the colon is typically removed, and additional treatment is rarely necessary.

Stage 2 colorectal cancer therapy often begins with surgery to remove the affected portion of the colon, although chemotherapy may be recommended as well. Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment in which a medication containing a combination of chemicals is used to destroy cancer cells or keep them from multiplying. The most common side effects of chemotherapy are nausea, vomiting, and hair loss.

Colorectal cancer therapy for stage 3 of the disease may include a combination of surgery to remove the affected portion of the colon, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The cancer in this stage has moved outside of the colon and into surrounding tissues, including nearby lymph nodes. Radiation therapy uses strong forms of radiation to destroy cancer cells. The side effects for this type of treatment are similar to the side effects of chemotherapy.

Stage 4 colorectal cancer therapy is the most aggressive method of treatment for this disease. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy may all be needed, but the medications given are much stronger than those used for other stages of the disease. Side effects may be more difficult to handle due to the high doses of medication needed, although additional medications are often used to help combat nausea, vomiting, and pain.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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