Colon Cancer Treatment

Colon cancer treatment depends on its location and stage at diagnosis. Whatever treatment used, earlier the cancer is detected, the more likely you are to survive. When colon cancer is diagnosed early (stage I for instance), recovery may be obtained in up to 90% of cases. However, colon cancer often diagnosed late after the tumor has already seriously damaged the colon.

The main treatment for colon cancer is surgery. Usually, the surgery aims at removing the tumor and surrounding lymph nodes (lymphadenectomy). Sometimes, the surgery is combined with chemotherapy or/and radiotherapy. Most of the times, chemotherapy is used if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes, liver or lung; radiotherapy is performed if the excision of the tumor has been incomplete or in case a residual tumor is  individualized on a vital organ. 

Surgical treatment 

Surgery for early-stage colon cancer – for an early-stage colon cancer surgery is performed to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. This treatment is effective in cases the cancer was discovered early enough. The surgical intervention can lead to a complete recovery if the cancer is strictly confined to the colon. Surgery may also be performed to prevent the occurrence of complications such as bowel obstruction or bleeding.

Surgery fora dvanced colon cancer –  in the case of advanced colon cancer, removal of part of the colon containing the tumor and lymph nodes may be necessary (colostomy). A colostomy is a kind of surgical diversion which allows your surgeon to link your colon wall to your abdomen after a major surgical procedure. Thus, the bowel is diverted to the outside and feces can get into a specific apparatus called artificial anus.

After the colostomy, your surgeon can restore the continuity of your intestines through an ileoanal anastomosis or ileorectal anastomosis:


  • Ileo-rectal anastomosis – the ileum is connected to the rectum
  • Ileo-anal anastomosis – the ileum is connected directly to the anus [(in this case the rectum is removed (proctectomy)].

Complications – in some patients, the operation can lead to the following complications:


  • infections
  • pouchitis – inflammation of the ileal pouch
  • Risk of fistula due to rupture of the sutures.



To treat your colon cancer, your surgeon can recommend some weeks or months of chemotherapy, a systematic treatment that affects cells of your entire organism. The drugs travel in all parts of your body to destroy cancer cells by preventing them from multiplying. These drugs can be taken by injection, infusion or by mouth. Unlike surgery, chemotherapy can be performed to treat advanced colorectal cancers that are associated with metastases in the liver, lungs, etc. Chemotherapy is often associated with radiotherapy.

Side effects may include:

·         fatigue

·         nausea

·         vomiting

·         diarrhea

·         constipation

·         hair loss

·         low blood cells count

·         And more…


Radiotherapy is the use of high-energy radiation ( energy X-rays or gamma rays) to kill cancer cells. During the therapy, your radiotherapist delivers precise doses of radiation in the tumor by sparing surrounding healthy tissues, unlike chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may be performed before or after the surgery; however, in the treatment of colon cancer, it is often performed before the surgery to reduce the size of the tumor in order to make the surgery possible or more effective.

Although less toxic than chemotherapy, radiotherapy can also cause side effects, which tends to vary from person to another. The most common discomforts you may experience after a colorectal cancer radiation therapy include:


  • redness of the treated area
  • urgent need to urinate
  • burning sensation during urination
  • Erectile dysfunction (temporary).



Stages                                                                                  Survival Rates

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