Your colon cancer treatment at MD Anderson may include one or more of the following therapies:
Surgery is the most common treatment for colon cancer, especially if it has not spread. As for many cancers, surgery for colon cancer is most successful when done by a surgeon with a great deal of experience in the procedure.
Colon cancer may be treated with surgery alone, surgery and chemotherapy, and/or other treatments. Chemotherapy or radiation may be given:
- Before surgery to make the cancer smaller. This is called neoadjuvant therapy.
- After surgery to help keep you cancer-free. This is called adjuvant therapy.
The type of surgery depends on the stage and location of the tumor:
Polypectomy: A colonoscope, which is a long tube with a camera on the end, is inserted into the rectum and guided to the polyp. A tiny, scissor-like tool or wire loop removes the polyp.
Colectomy: The area of the colon where the cancer is, along with some healthy surrounding tissue, is removed. The associated lymph nodes are removed (biopsied) and looked at under a microscope. Usually the surgeon then rejoins the parts of the colon. This surgery also is called a hemicolectomy or partial colectomy.
Your doctor will decide whether it is best to perform traditional open surgery or minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery.
With minimally invasive surgery, small cuts are made in the abdomen. A tiny camera and surgical instruments are inserted. The surgeon then uses video imaging to perform the surgery. MD Anderson surgeons are among the most experienced in the nation in minimally invasive colon cancer surgery.
Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) may be used if the cancer is small and only on the surface of the colon. A needle is placed in the colon wall, and then saline (saltwater) is injected to make a bubble under the growth. Using suction, the lesion is removed.
Endoluminal stent placement: This minimally invasive procedure uses an endoscope to place expanding metal stents to help relieve a bowel obstruction.
MD Anderson offers the most up-to-date and effective chemotherapy options for colon cancer. Drugs are given by mouth (pills) or intravenously (injected into a vein).
- Chemotherapy may be used to help:
- Shrink the cancer before surgery
- Keep you cancer free after surgery
- Prolong life when surgery is not an option
MD Anderson offers targeted therapies for certain types of colon cancer. These innovative new drugs stop the growth of cancer cells by interfering with certain proteins and receptors or blood vessels that supply the tumor with what it needs to grow, survive and spread.
MD Anderson provides the most advanced radiation treatments, including:
- Brachytherapy: Tiny radioactive seeds are placed in the body close to the tumor
- 3D-conformal radiation therapy: Several radiation beams are given in the exact shape of the tumor
- Intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT): Treatment is tailored to the specific shape of the tumor to reduce damage to normal tissue.
The Proton Therapy Center at MD Anderson treats many colon cancer patients. Proton therapy delivers the highest radiation doses directly into the tumor, sparing nearby healthy tissue and vital organs. For many patients, this results in better cancer control with fewer side effects.
MD Anderson patients have access to clinical trials offering
promising new treatments that cannot be found anywhere else.
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