If your loved one is among the 100,000 new cases of colon cancer diagnosed this year, you definitely have questions about treatment options. The best care plan depends on the type and stage of cancer, the possible side effects, and the patient’s health and preferences.
As a board-certified gastroenterologist, Dr. Bharat Pothuri of GastroDoxs is part of a care team that treats colon cancer. Here are some of the most common recommendations he makes for colon cancer treatment.
Weighing the treatment options
You should always take time to learn about all of your loved one’s treatment options. Ask questions about anything that seems unclear. For example, you’ll want to know what the goals of each treatment are and the possible side effects.
Various treatment approaches result in similar benefits, regardless of patient age. Older adults may pose unique treatment challenges because they’re more likely to have additional medical conditions, have compromised health, and take several medications. Older adults may also struggle with nutrition and social support – factors important to healing.
Common treatment options for colon cancer
The most common treatment for colon cancer is surgery, and it cures approximately 50% of patients. Recurrence of cancer following surgery is possible.
Other therapies that may be offered alongside surgery or instead of surgery include:
Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to destroy cancer cells. You usually undergo a number of treatments over a set period of time.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. The drugs affect the cancer cells and prevent them from growing, dividing, and making more cells.
A chemotherapy regimen usually consists of a specific number of cycles given over a set period of time. A patient may receive one drug at a time or a combination of different drugs given at the same time.
Targeted therapy affects the genes, proteins, or tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth. Targeted therapy blocks the growth and spread of cancer cells. It also protects healthy cells.
Immunotherapy harnesses the body's natural defenses to fight cancer by improving the immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells.
Treatment recommendations according to cancer stage
If your loved one has Stage 1 cancer, then surgical removal of the tumor and lymph nodes is usually the only treatment needed. Stage 2 cancer usually requires surgery and may also benefit from adjunct radiation or chemotherapy.
Stage 3 colon cancer requires removal of the tumor and chemotherapy.
Metastatic stage IV cancer, requires extensive treatment that usually includes a combination of therapies such as chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy. Because the cancer has spread to other tissues and organs in this stage, surgery may be conducted on multiple affected areas of the body.
Metastatic cancer is very hard to cure, but treatment can add years to a patient’s life.
Call today or use the online tool to discuss your loved one’s treatment options if they have a diagnosis of colon cancer. Use this website to book an appointment online or call our office in Houston, Texas.