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Treating Colorectal Cancer

Although many people may believe colorectal cancer is difficult to treat, it actually is one of the most curable cancers when detected at an early stage. Screening and surveillance procedures are crucial for identifying polyps early-before the polyps produce symptoms.

Treatment of colorectal cancer typically depends on the stage in which the colorectal polyps or cancer are found.

Early Stages

Most colorectal polyps are removed easily during colonoscopy without the need for surgery. Treatment of early-stage cancer usually requires surgery to remove the portion of the colon containing the malignant tumor.

Unfortunately, if these tumors are not detected early through screening/surveillance and spread beyond the bowel, the chance for a surgical cure is less than 40 percent.

Many people believe that surgery means a permanent colostomy will be required for the patient. However, it is important to realize that a colostomy is required in only a few of the cases where the cancer is located at the very end of the bowel in the rectum. Sadly, this misconception, or fear, may cause people to delay or avoid screening and diagnosis until their cancers are far advanced.

After curative surgery, additional treatment may involve radiation and/or chemotherapy to eradicate residual tumor cells.

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