Colorectal Cancer Treatment 

Home / Colorectal Cancer Treatment 

Colorectal cancer is a term used for colon or rectal cancer, depending on whether it begins in the rectum or colon. Colorectal cancer treatment involves all the treatment options available for this ailment, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, etc. Read More

Top Doctors For Colorectal Cancer Treatment  Treatments

Top Hospitals For Colorectal Cancer Treatment  Treatments

Colorectal Cancer Treatment 

Colorectal cancer is a term used for colon or rectal cancer, depending on whether it begins in the rectum or colon. Colorectal cancer treatment involves all the treatment options available for this ailment, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, etc.

Colorectal cancer treatment
Picture courtesy: Spokesman Recorder


Someone who is considered can be tested to check for any sign of a non-cancerous polyp or colon cancer. This will help fight cancer at its earliest stage. Proper screening decreases the risks of an individual dying from colon cancer.

Except for an individual with a family history of colorectal cancer or African-American, the average age to begin screening is 45. Tests that may be conducted include:

An individual diagnosed with colon cancer is made to undergo a series of tests to determine the cancer stage. Stage 0 is the earliest and the lowest, while stage IV is the most advanced stage of cancer. At stage IV, the cancer has spread from the lining of the inside of the colon to other parts of the body.

Treating Colorectal Cancer

The form of treatment used to manage cancer depends on the following:

  • the stage of cancer,
  • other health concerns,
  • location of cancer.

The major form of treatment is surgery. Other treatment options are chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgery conducted varies due to the stage of cancer.

  • At the Early Stage of Colorectal Cancer – At this stage, surgery with a minimally invasive approach is recommended. This could include the following below.
  • Polypectomy – This is a medical procedure where the polyps are removed from the body. This is done when and if the cancerous cells are small, localized and still confined in a polyp. At the early stage of cancer, the doctor would perform this surgery during a colonoscopy.
  • Endoscopic Mucosal Resection – This procedure involves removing precancerous or abnormal lesions from the gastrointestinal tract.  
Endoscopic Mucosal Resection
Picture courtesy: GastroMedicine & Endoscopy
  • Laparoscopic Surgery – This is a minimally invasive surgery. During this surgery, polyps that could not be completely removed by colonoscopy are removed. In the abdominal wall, small incisions are made where an instrument with a camera is inserted.
  • At the Advanced Stage of Colorectal Cancer – Procedures used in the advanced stage of colorectal cancer differ from those used at the early stage.
  • Partial Colectomy – This procedure involves removing the cancerous part of an individual’s colon. The margin of the normal tissue on the sides of the cancer is also removed. Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive approach that is usually done with this procedure.
  • Ostomy – Ostomy is done to create an opening from which bodily waste is made to leave the body. This opening is made in the wall of the abdomen. An ostomy is recommended when the doctor cannot reconnect the healthy portions of an individual’s colon. It is temporal and aids the healing of the colon after surgery. 
  • Lymph Node Removal – During surgery, lymph nodes close to the cancerous cells are removed. After removal, they are tested for cancer. 

Treatment Options for Advanced Cancer 

Cancer in its advanced stage is dangerous, and if there’s a chance to extend longevity, immediate treatment is needed. At this stage, the individual may not be in good health. This treatment is also done to help control the spread of the cancer. The treatment option carried out is majorly; surgery, during which the blockage of the colon is relieved. It is also done to improve symptoms.

Other treatment options other than surgery include:

  • chemotherapy,
  • radiation therapy,
  • targeted drug therapy,
  • immunotherapy, and
  • supportive or palliative care.


Surgery is the main treatment option for cancer. It involves surgically removing the entire cancerous cells. It may include reconstructing the bowels to aid in the restoration of bowel function. The surgical technique used depends on the following:

  • the tumor’s location,
  • stage of cancer,
  • the individual’s preferences,
  • the risk of the cancer reoccurring, and
  • the presence of other cancerous cells or polyps. 

Sometimes, surgery is recommended in combination with (adjuvant) chemotherapy. Surgery and some localized treatments may be recommended in cases where:

  • the individual is in good health, and
  • cancer has invaded the liver or lung.

In these cases, chemotherapy is before or after the procedure.


Chemotherapy is a form of treatment or therapy involving drugs to eliminate fast-growing cells in the body. It attacks cancerous cells that may have split from the original tumor and invaded other body parts. Majorly used in treating cancer, chemotherapy can be used after or before undergoing surgery. It may be combined with another treatment option called radiation therapy. It helps decrease the chances of a recurrence of cancer.

For colorectal cancer, it can be given if,

  • the cancerous cells have invaded the lymph nodes or 
  • after surgery, if the cancerous cells are large.

Chemotherapy is done to:

  • reduce the size of large cancerous cells,
  • relieve symptoms, especially when surgery is not enough.

Chemotherapy may be given for a short period. This is done after surgery for individuals with low-risk stage III colorectal cancer.

Radiation Therapy

Also called radiotherapy, radiation therapy is another form of treatment used to fight cancer. It uses powerful doses of radiation, such as X-rays, to shrink tumors and kill cancerous cells. It is applied to relieve cancer symptoms, especially in cases where surgery is not an option. Radiotherapy is usually given in combination with chemotherapy.

Targeted Drug Therapy

Targeted drug therapy is a form of treatment employed in cancer treatment. It deals with the use of drugs to detect and fight specific parts of cancerous cells, such as genes or proteins that support cancer growth in the body. By precisely targeting these sites, it can aid in the effective destruction of cancerous cells. It can be used in combination with chemotherapy. It is usually recommended for people in the advanced stage of colon cancer.


Another form of cancer treatment, immunotherapy, uses an individual’s immune system to fight cancer. It boosts the immune system and helps it to identify and attack cancerous cells. Like targeted drug therapy, immunotherapy is recommended for people with advanced colon cancer.

When cancer invades the cells of an individual, it produces proteins that prevent the immune system from identifying it. This hinders the immune system from fighting cancerous cells. With the application of immunotherapy, the immune system will be able to work effectively.

Supportive Care

Supportive care can sometimes be referred to as palliative care. It refers to the care given to people with diseases by detecting the symptoms early and treating or preventing the disease and side effects of treatments from improving the quality of life. Supportive care also helps to reduce the suffering of these people, and it involves:

  • physical care,
  • social care,
  • psychological care, and
  • spiritual care.

Supportive care is provided to cancer patients and their families by the patient’s team of doctors and other specially trained healthcare professionals. 


Is colon cancer curable?

There is a likelihood that colon cancer can be cured in its early stages, especially when it is just confined to the bowel. The form of treatment majorly employed in these cases is surgery.

What causes colon cancer?

There is no known exact cause of colon cancer, but there are certain risk factors that may predispose an individual to colon cancer. Such risk factors include:
1)       older age
2)       heredity
3)       Underlying health conditions such as a medical history of polyps or colorectal cancer, obesity, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, etc.
4)       sedentary lifestyle
5)       consuming a diet low in fiber and high in fat
6)       smoking
7)       alcohol

Can blood tests detect colon cancer?

No blood test can be used to detect colon cancer, but doctors may conduct some blood tests that may help with diagnosis. 
1)       A blood-based DNA test (liquid biopsy) is conducted on the blood sample of an individual to detect if there is an alteration in the gene, SEPT9. This test is majorly used for individuals who are 50 years and above. 
2)       A complete blood count (CBC) test is also used to detect if the individual is anemic because some people with colon cancer can become anemic. 
3)       Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) is used to detect the presence of blood in an individual’s stool.
Other blood tests may be used to check 
a)       the function of the liver, and 
b)       the presence of tumor markers.

“Medical Advice Disclaimer:


The information provided in this article or website by way of text, illustration, graphics, Images or any other form in this article or website is provided for informational purposes only. No information or material provided on this site is meant to be a substitute for a professional medical advice. Please refer to your family doctor or specialist in that field for any medical condition, diagnosis and treatment. Do not delay in contacting a professional on account of something you have read in this article or on this website.”