Colorectal Cancer Treatment
cancer treatment options consist mainly of surgical therapy,
radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapies. The treatments may have different objectives, depending on
the treatment chosen and the
stage of the cancer. But in most cases, the goal is to allow the doctor
by removing all cancer cells
cancer to grow and spread
the risk of
Reduce or eliminate the side effects
caused by the cancer treatment
the comfort and
quality of life of the patient from the cancer
symptoms such as pain.
Depending on the stage of the tumor in
the rectum, one type of treatment is necessary.
In other cases where the cancer is aggressive and advanced, a
combination of treatments is needed to better
control the disease. It is thus possible for a surgeon to
perform a surgery and then give a
complete treatment with chemotherapy to the
Additional treatment, adjuvant
therapy, can be performed in order to supplement the action of the main treatment
and enhance its effectiveness.
of treatment which is best suitable for the situation of the patient is usually
discussed at a multidisciplinary meeting where many health professionals
of different specialties meet to discuss the best treatment possible. They can also
offer the patient to participate in a
clinical trial. Most of the times, the team includes professionals from these specialties: gastroenterologist, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, surgeon, pathologist, psychologist or
psychiatrist, pain specialist, nurse, stoma, dietitian, social worker.
Surgical Therapy- Rectal cancer
treatment is mainly based on surgery that aims to
cure the cancer by removing the portion of
the rectum affected by the tumor. The challenge is to remove the tumor
with clear margins and preserve, if
possible, the anal sphincter, which is important to avoid bowel
incontinence. The operation requires a hospital stay of
seven to ten days on average. Side
effects related to the surgery can persist for several
weeks after the procedure. They must be reported by the patient and be systematically
The tumor and all tissues
removed during operation subject
to a histopathological examination. This test is designed to determine the extent of the
disease and whether further treatment is necessary after surgery.
is often associated with surgery in rectal cancer
treatment. When radiation therapy is
indicated, it is most often performed before surgery to reduce the size of the tumor in
order to facilitate surgical removal. In this case, radiation is frequently associated to chemotherapy. In rare cases the
radiation therapy can be used after
surgery to reduce the risk of local recurrence.
Chemotherapy - When chemotherapy is given to rectal cancer patients, it is
often used before surgery to enhance the action of the
radiation. When performed after surgery,
its goal is to reduce the risk of distant
recurrence, given chemotherapy is a systematic treatment which affects all organs in the body.
But this is not all. All
these therapies may not be enough for a complete recovery. Management of
cancer is comprehensive and includes all the
care and support the patient may need at diagnosis, during and after treatment:
psychological support for the patient and his family,
social support, management of pain, education on nutrition, financial support, and others. All these
criteria are important to help the patient completely recover.