Making Treatment Decisions After a Colon Cancer Diagnosis
The choice of treatment depends mainly on the location of the tumor in the colon or rectum and the stage of the disease. Treatment for colorectal cancer may involve , , or . Some people have a combination of treatments. These treatments are described below.
Colon cancer sometimes is treated differently from rectal cancer. Treatments for colon and rectal cancer are described separately below.
Your doctor can describe your treatment choices and the expected results. You and your doctor can work together to develop a treatment plan that meets your needs.
Cancer treatment is either or :
- Local therapy:Surgery and radiation therapy are local therapies. They remove or destroy cancer in or near the colon or rectum. When colorectal cancer has spread to other parts of the body, local therapy may be used to control the disease in those specific areas.
- Systemic therapy:Chemotherapy and biological therapy are systemic therapies. The drugs enter the bloodstream and destroy or control cancer throughout the body.
Because cancer treatments often damage healthy cells and tissues, are common. Side effects depend mainly on the type and extent of the treatment. Side effects may not be the same for each person, and they may change from one treatment session to the next. Before treatment starts, your health care team will explain possible side effects and suggest ways to help you manage them.
At any stage of disease, supportive care is available to relieve the side effects of treatment, to control pain and other symptoms, and to ease emotional concerns. Information about such care is available on NCI's Web site at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping, and from Information Specialists at1-800-4-CANCERorLiveHelp(http://www.cancer.gov/livehelp).
You may want to talk to your doctor about taking part in a , a research study of new treatment methods. "The Promise of Cancer Research" has more information about clinical trials.
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