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Colon Cancer

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by LaRusso L

(Cancer of the Colon)



Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment may include one or more of the following options:


Surgery is the main treatment for colon cancer. There are several options for surgery depending on the location of the cancer and how much it has spread:
  • Polypectomy and local excision—Early stage removal of the cancer.
  • Partial colectomy—Removal of the cancer with a margin of surrounding healthy tissue and lymph nodes. The healthy ends of the colon are reconnected.
  • Laparoscopic-assisted colectomy—Removal of the cancer with a margin of surrounding healthy tissue and lymph nodes through small incisions in the abdomen.
  • Total colectomy—Removal of the entire colon. The last part of the small intestine, called the ileum, is then connected to the rectum.
Some surgeries may require temporary or permanent colostomies. A colostomy is a surgical opening through the wall of the abdomen into the colon. This is used as a path for waste material to leave the body. After a colostomy, you will wear a special bag to collect body waste.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is the use of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It is directed at the site of the tumor from a source outside the body. This therapy is aimed at the immediate area of the cancer.


This therapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be given in many forms, including pill, injection, and catheter. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body killing mostly cancer cells. They can also kill some healthy cells. This therapy is systemic, meaning it affects your entire body.


Targeted Therapy
Targeted therapy uses medications to target and kill cancer cells, while sparing healthy tissue. They are currently used to treat advanced cancers. Targeted therapy is less harmful to healthy tissue, which reduces side effects. It may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy.
Other Medications
Some medications can be used as part of a treatment plan. Other medications may help to either prevent or reduce side effects of treatments, or to manage certain side effects once they occur. These include:
  • Corticosteroids
  • Blood stem cell support medications
  • Anti-nausea medications
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Opioids
Tell your doctor when you notice a new symptom, and ask if any of these medications are appropriate for you.


American Cancer Society

National Cancer Institute



Canadian Cancer Society

Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada



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General information about colon cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: Updated May 16, 2013. Accessed May 24, 2013.

Kushi LH, Doyle C, McCullough M, et al. American Cancer Society Guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention: reducing the risk of cancer with healthy food choices and physical activity. CA: Cancer J Clin. 2012;62(1):30-67.

Rex DK, Johnson DA, Anderson JC, et al. American College of Gastroenterology guidelines for colorectal cancer screening 2009. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009;104(3):739-750.

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4/8/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Yee J, Kim DH, et al. Colorectal cancer screening. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria. Available at: Updated 2013.


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