Table of Contents
Colorectal Cancer Treatment
According to the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER), colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the United States. It can be detrimental to patients when discovered in its advanced stage.
Colorectal cancer begins in the large intestine. It may develop when:
- The cells located along the lining of the colon or rectum mutate. They also grow out of control and then form into a tumor.
- Clumps of cells called polyps inside the colon grow and become cancerous.
Colorectal cancer treatment options may be localized or systemic. Localized treatment focuses on a specific tumor, while systemic therapy uses drugs to fight or kill cancer cells throughout the body.
The best treatment for colon cancer is determined by doctors depending on the stage or extent of the disease. They may opt to use colon cancer natural treatment or other advanced colon cancer treatment.
- Surgery is the most common treatment for colorectal cancer. It may involve removing affected sections of the colon, tumor and removing nearby lymph nodes. In some cases, the entire colon may be removed.
- Radiation Therapy. Radiation treatment for colon cancer may be given before surgery to shrink tumors, so they are easier to remove or as a palliative treatment to help shrink tumors that cause blockage in the colon or intestines.
- Drugs are being given to destroy cancer cells or prevent their ability to grow and reproduce. It is a common treatment option for patients with stage I or stage II colorectal cancer.
- Targeted Therapy. Monoclonal antibody therapy is a type of targeted therapy used in the treatment of colorectal cancer.
- Immunotherapy is the use of drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors. It is used to treat advanced colorectal cancer with specific genomic features.
What are the types of Colorectal Cancer?
To properly know the treatment options for colon cancer, it should be diagnosed according to its type.
- Adenocarcinomas. More than 95% of all colorectal cancer are adenocarcinomas. These cancers start in the cells that make fluids to lubricate the colon and rectum.
- Other much less common types of colorectal cancer include:
- Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors. These form in the lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
- Primary colorectal lymphomas. Lymphoma is the cancer of the immune system cells. It commonly starts in the lymph nodes, but it can also begin in the rectum, colon, and any organ of the body.
- Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs). These start in the interstitial cells of Cajal, a particular cell in the wall of the colon.
- Sarcomas may begin in the blood vessels, muscle layers, or other connective tissues in the colon and the rectum wall.
- Metastatic colorectal cancer is that which spread to other parts of the body. It commonly goes to the liver but may also travel to the bone, lungs, or brain.
- Recurrent colorectal cancer returns to the same part of the colon or rectum where it was initially diagnosed.
Who Can Get Colorectal Cancer?
About 149,500 people will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2021, per the American Cancer Society’s estimate.
Some risk factors in developing the disease include:
- Colorectal cancer is much more common after age 50.
- Race and ethnicity. Those with African-American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Ashkenazi Jewish heritage are more at risk of colorectal cancer.
- Family history of colorectal cancer. As many as 1 in 3 people diagnosed with colorectal cancer have other family members who have had it.
- History of polyps. People with a history of polyps, especially if they were numerous, large, or showed abnormal noncancerous cells (dysplasia), are at risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Type 2 diabetes. People with non-insulin-dependent diabetes have an increased risk of colorectal cancer. They also have a less favorable outlook or prognosis after diagnosis.
A Closer Look: The Colon
Being familiar with the structure and function of the colon helps patients understand where cancer is located and how colorectal cancer treatment can be applied.
The large intestine (large bowel) is made up of the colon and rectum. The colon is about 5 feet long. It helps digest food. It also absorbs water and nutrients from the remaining food matter. After absorbing what the body needs, it then sends the waste to the rectum, the final few inches of the intestine.
The parts of the colon are named by which way the food is traveling:
- Ascending colon. It begins with a pouch called the cecum, where undigested food enters from the small intestine and continues upward to the right side of the belly.
- Transverse colon. The transverse colon goes across the body from the right to the left side.
- Descending colon. It travels down on the left side.
- Sigmoid colon.It’s called the sigmoid colon because of its “S” shape. It joins the rectum, which is then connected to the anus.
Want to Discuss Treatment Options With All American Hospice?
If you or anyone you know is diagnosed with colorectal cancer and needs assistance, please contact All American Hospice. We have an array of professionals who can offer support to take care of you or your patient adequately.