Colon Cancer Treatment

There are several options for treating colon cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy. Many people with colon cancer receive more than one form of treatment. In most cases, there will be time to get a second opinion about a diagnosis and treatment plan. The type and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient's overall health, are some of the factors that affect decisions about which treatment options are best.

An Overview of Colon Cancer Treatment

Different types of treatment are available for patients with colon cancer. Treatment varies based on:
 
  • The stage of the cancer (see Colon Cancer Stages)
  • The patient's age and general health
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).
     
In general, treatment options for colon cancer may include:
 
  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy.
     
Your healthcare provider can describe your treatment options and the expected results of each. Together, you and your healthcare provider can develop a treatment plan that meets your medical needs and personal values. Choosing the most appropriate colon cancer treatment is a decision that ideally involves the patient, family, and healthcare team.
 

Remembering Questions and Answers

Many people with colon cancer want to take an active role in making decisions about their medical care. It is natural to want to learn all you can about your disease and colon cancer treatment choices. Knowing more about colon cancer helps many people cope with the disease.
 
Shock and stress after the colon cancer diagnosis can make it hard to think of everything you want to ask your healthcare provider. It often helps to make a list of questions before an appointment. To help remember what the doctor says, you may take notes or ask whether you may use a tape recorder. You may also want to have a family member or friend with you when you talk to the doctor -- to take part in the discussion, to take notes, or just to listen. You do not need to ask all your questions at once. You will have other opportunities to ask your doctor or nurse to explain things that are not clear and to ask for more details.
 
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, or you may ask for a referral. Specialists who treat colon cancer include surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. You also may be referred to a plastic surgeon.
 
Written by/reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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