How is colorectal cancer treated?

Your digestive system has a large and small intestine. The large intestine, also known as the colon, is the one closest to the rectum. When cancer cells grow within the colon or rectum, it’s called colorectal cancer . Like all cancers, this disease is serious, and it requires prompt treatment. The Cancer Care team at West Hills Hospital is here to help your family during the difficult time after a diagnosis. Your treatment plan depends on how advanced the cancer is, and on your unique health history.

Polypectomy
Cancer experts recommend that all adults get screened for colon cancer on a routine basis, starting no later than age 50. The gold standard of colorectal cancer screening is a colonoscopy, which is a straightforward procedure that allows the doctor to examine the insides of the colon and rectum.

The doctor may notice polyps, which are growths. Some polyps can become cancerous.

Doctors can often remove these polyps during the colonoscopy. Assuming no cancer is present beyond the polyps, and all of the polyps are successfully removed, you might not need any additional treatment.

Colectomy
When more aggressive treatment is needed, the cancer specialist may recommend a partial colectomy. This is a surgery to remove the part of the colon that has cancer. The surgeon will also remove nearby lymph nodes.

Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy may be given before or after cancer surgery, or as an alternative to surgery if you aren’t healthy enough to withstand the procedure.

Chemotherapy drugs are given in cycles, and a cycle may last two to six weeks. Some patients may only receive chemo once at the start of each cycle, or multiple doses may be given.

Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy is another option for patients with advanced colorectal cancer. In these cases, it may be used as a palliative treatment. This means the radiation therapy is intended to shrink the tumor to relieve symptoms , but it isn’t expected to result in a cure.

Cancer Care at West Hills Hospital brings together board-certified specialists with state-of-the-art medical equipment to give your family the help you need close to your home in West Hills. Our Cancer Care experts will be here for you through each step of your treatment plan. Call a trusted member of our nursing staff at (818) 676-4321 to request a referral.

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