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Treatments for Colorectal Cancer

The goal of treatment is to remove as much of the cancer as possible, while preserving colon and/or rectal tissue and function. Additional treatment may help to prevent the spread or recurrence of cancer. The treatment plan will often include a combination of approaches based on the characteristics of the cancer, patient's age, general health, and prognosis. Comfort measures can be provided if colorectal cancer is in advanced stages.

The healthcare team will be made up of a variety of health professionals including doctors, surgeons, nurses, and pharmacists. It is important to maintain contact with your medical team, adhere to recommended treatment, and go to any recommended appointments for the best outcomes possible.

Colorectal cancer treatment includes:

SurgeryChemotherapyRadiationMedications

Existing treatment protocols have been established and continue to be modified through clinical trials. These research studies are essential to determine whether or not new treatments are both safe and effective. Since highly effective treatments for many cancers remain unknown, numerous clinical trials are always underway around the world. You may wish to ask your doctor if you should consider participating in a clinical trial. You can find out about clinical trials at the US National Institutes of Health website.

Revision Information

  • Colon cancer treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/patient/colon-treatment-pdq#section/%5F135. Updated July 22, 2015. Accessed December 4, 2015.

  • Colorectal cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003096-pdf.pdf. Accessed December 2, 2015.

  • Colorectal cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 12, 2015. Accessed December 2, 2015.

  • Colorectal cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/tumors-of-the-gi-tract/colorectal-cancer. Updated July 2014. Accessed December 2, 2015.

  • Rectal cancer treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/types/colorectal/patient/rectal-treatment-pdq#section/%5F135. Updated June 30, 2015. Accessed December 2, 2015.