Colo-rectal Cancer Management - Stage and Treatment

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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 - Stage and Treatment

The therapy for colorectal cancer depends upon the extent of tumor spread and the type of tumor.

So the Treatment options rely on the following:

  • The stage of the cancer
  • Whether the cancer has recurred
  • The patient's general health

The available options for therapy based on staging are:

Stage 0 colon cancer

Treatment may be one of the following:

  • Local excision or simple polypectomy to remove all the cancer
  • Bowel resection

Stage I colon cancer

Treatment is usually surgery (bowel resection) to remove the cancer and join the cut ends of the bowel.

Stage II colon cancer

Treatment may be one of the following:

  • Treatment is usually surgery (bowel resection) to remove the cancer
  • Clinical trials of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or biological therapy following surgery
  • If the tumor has spread to nearby tissue, a patient may also receive chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy following surgery

Stage III colon cancer

Treatment may be one of the following:

  • Treatment is usually surgery (bowel resection) to remove the cancer followed by chemotherapy
  • Clinical trials of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or biological therapy following surgery

Stage IV colon cancer

Treatment may be one of the following:

  • Surgery (bowel resection) to remove the cancer or to make the colon go around the cancer so that it can still work
  • Surgery to remove parts of other organs such as the liver, lungs, and ovaries, where the cancer may have spread
  • Radiation therapy to relieve symptoms
  • Chemotherapy to relieve symptoms
  • Clinical trials of chemotherapy or biological therapy

Recurrent Colorectal cancer

Depending on the site of recurrence treatment options are:

  • Surgery: If the cancer is localized in only one part of the body
  • Chemotherapy or Radiation therapy: If the cancer has spread to several parts of the body

Follow-up care

It is important after treatment for colorectal cancer to have regular checkups to ensure that changes in health are noticed. If the cancer recurs or develops in another area, it needs be treated as soon as possible. Checkups may include a physical exam, a fecal occult blood test, a colonoscopy, chest x-rays, and lab tests. Testing for Tumor makers namely carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and CA 19-9 can detect early recurrences. Between scheduled checkups, a person who has had colorectal cancer should report any health problems to the doctor as soon as they appear.

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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