Colon Cancer

How Is Colon Cancer Treated?

The outlook for people with colon cancer has improved steadily in recent years. Three types of treatment are available for individuals with colon cancer:

  • Surgery is an operation that involves removing the cancerous section of the colon. This is the primary treatment for colon cancer for most individuals.
  • Chemotherapy involves treatment with drugs that destroy fast-growing cells, like cancer cells. This treatment is given to persons with advanced cancers that have spread outside of the colon.
  • Radiation therapy is a specialized treatment using radiation to destroy rapidly growing cancer cells. This is usually reserved for treatment of rectal cancer and may be given before surgery, often in combination with chemotherapy. This treatment may shrink the tumor and improve the chances of avoiding a permanent colostomy in select persons.

When detected early, surgery alone is the only treatment necessary, and cure rates are excellent. Sometimes, even when the cancer is surgically removed, radiation therapy or chemotherapy may reduce the risk of cancer spread.

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