Colorectal Cancer Treatments
Our specialists are at the forefront of discovering new techniques for colon cancer treatments that further improve your quality of life. A group of specialists will review your case and develop a treatment plan to meet your needs. The group may include:
- Medical oncologists
- Surgical oncologists
- Radiation oncologists
Treatments for colon cancer
Doctors almost always use surgery to treat colon and rectal cancer. They can often remove and cure colorectal cancer when they find and treat it early. If metastatic colon cancer has spread into the wall of the colon or further, you may also need radiation or chemotherapy:
- Chemotherapy uses medicines to destroy cancer cells. You may receive it through your veins.
- Radiation therapy uses high-dose X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
Depending on your prognosis, your doctor may recommend a combination of colon cancer surgery and nonsurgical treatments.
Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy is another option for colon cancer treatment. This surgery begins with removing all visible tumors from the abdomen. HIPEC then delivers heated chemotherapy directly inside the abdomen to help destroy any microscopic cancer cells and tumors that cannot be seen by the surgeon. The heated chemotherapy circulates inside the abdomen, which allows it to reach more of the internal surface area.
The goal of HIPEC is to prevent cancer cells from growing into new tumors and allowing the cancer to return. HIPEC can improve outcomes with advanced, complex and recurrent abdominal and primary peritoneal cancers and select ovarian cancers. HIPEC can be used to treat advanced cases of cancer and recurrent cancer, including colorectal cancer.
Interventional radiology uses a technique called radioembolization to treat primary liver cancer and liver metastases from colon cancer. Radioembolization is a minimally invasive cancer treatment that delivers radioactive particles to a tumor through the bloodstream. The particles embed in the tumor and emit radiation that kills cancer cells. The procedure is also known as:
- Y-90, which stands for yttrium-90, the radioactive isotope used in this therapy
- Selective internal radiation therapy or SIRT
- Various tradenames, such as SIR-Spheres® and TheraSphere®
Clinical trials for colorectal cancer
At The University of Kansas Cancer Center, we provide nationally recognized, leading-edge treatments through clinical trials. Clinical trials lead to new ways to prevent, detect or treat disease and are at the heart of all medical advances. You may get access to investigational treatments and help others with colorectal cancer by being part of a clinical trial.
Clinical trials may seek to test a drug, therapy or diagnostic tool. Nearly all cancer treatments used today were studied and made available to patients through clinical trials. In the last several years alone, our researchers have advanced multiple new cancer drugs into clinical trials.
Before reaching the trials phase, all drugs or treatments are tested extensively. The University of Kansas Cancer Center evaluates all patients to see if they meet the criteria for clinical trials. If you are eligible, you can decide if you would like to participate. In some cases, clinical trial costs may not be completely covered by your insurance. Be sure to check with your insurance provider first.
Life after colon cancer
Surviving colon cancer is a lifelong process. You will need regular checkups. You also may need help with the side effects of treatment. You may want to learn about lifestyle changes that can speed recovery and improve your quality of life.
Our experienced team of doctors, nurses, counselors, dietitians and research coordinators can help you:
- Understand your treatment
- Deal with complications
- Assess and manage side effects
- Monitor for cancer recurrence
- Give you access to clinical studies
- Make diet and exercise recommendations
You also may wish to visit the Brandmeyer Patient Resource Center for more information.