Once a colon cancer diagnosis is made, physicians at Riverside Cancer Care Center will evaluate the stage and type of cancer before determining the most appropriate treatment method for each patient. Physicians and a cancer care team of specially trained nurses, dietitians, therapists, lab technologists and other staff, work closely together to provide a full range of coordinated, compassionate care during treatment and recovery.
There are several means of treating colorectal cancer and doctors will devise a treatment course tailored to each patient. Patients will have input into their preferred treatment method. Treatment options include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and other drug therapy, all of which are available at Riverside Cancer Care Center.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) developed the nationally acknowledged gold standard of guidelines for treating various types and stages of cancer. Riverside is proud to be one of the few institutions in the nation whose Cancer Registry checks 100% of cancer cases against the recommended NCCN guidelines.
Types of Colorectal Cancer Treatment
Colon cancer surgery is a common form of treatment and involves removing polyps or tumors from your colon or rectum. Your doctor may use surgery to achieve any number of goals, from treating cancer to relieving the symptoms it causes. Cancer surgery may be the only recommended treatment or it may be supplemented with other treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or biological therapy.
Chemotherapy is the use of medications to kill rapidly dividing cells such as cancer cells. The medications used may also effect healthy cells that also divide quickly such as those in your bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract, reproductive system and hair follicles. Healthy cells usually recover shortly after chemotherapy is complete. Here are links to helpful information about chemotherapy and the side effects you may experience.
- Cancer fatigue: Why it occurs and how to cope
- Chemotherapy nausea and vomiting: Prevention is best defense
- Chemo Brain: Understanding Memory Problems During Treatment
Radiation therapy is commonly used to treat cancer and is the process of directing highly targeted external radiation beams to the cancer site in order to break up the cancer cell DNA so that it cannot grow.
Other Drug Therapy
Monoclonal antibody therapy is a relatively new innovation in cancer treatment. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory produced molecules that mimic the antibodies your body naturally produces as part of your immune system's response to germs, vaccines and other invaders. They are carefully engineered to attach to specific defects in cancer cells.
After primary cancer treatment and in order to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence doctors may suggest adjuvant therapy as a way to target any remaining cancer cells that haven't been identified. The side effects of this treatment can be difficult to manage.
Cancer cells need oxygen and nutrients to grow and they develop a network of new blood vessels in order to obtain them. This process is called angiogenesis and the identification and use of angionesis inhibitors is the focus of widespread medical research. If doctors can inhibit or stop the angionesis process, cancer cells cannot grow.