Colo-rectal Cancer Management - Chemotherapy

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Written by Dr. Anitha Paderla, MBBS | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sunil Shroff, MBBS, MS, FRCS (UK), D. Urol (Lond) on Dec 19, 2019
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Colo-rectal Cancer Management - Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses medicines to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing.

Systemic chemotherapy

Here the medicines are taken by mouth or injected into a vein and enter the bloodstream to reach cancer cells throughout the body.

Regional chemotherapy

Here the medicines are concentrated in areas where there is cancer cell growth. These medicines are injected directly into the spinal column, an organ, or a body cavity such as the abdomen.

Chemotherapy drugs used to treat colorectal cancer include:

  • 5-fluorouracil
  • Leucovorin
  • Irinotecan
  • Capecitabine
  • Oxaliplatin

Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells but also damage some normal cells. The side effects of therapy are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Hand and Foot swelling
  • Rashes
  • Mouth sores
  • Increased chances of infection (due to a shortage of white blood cells)
  • Bleeding or bruising after minor cuts or injuries (due to a shortage of blood platelets)
  • Fatigue (due to low red blood cell counts)

References:

  1. Colorectal Cancer—Patient Version - (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/colon-and-rectal)
  2. Colorectal Cancer - (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/colorectalcancer.html)

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