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Colon cancer treatments can include surgery, radiofrequency ablation, cryosurgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy.

Treatment of colon cancer has changed significantly over the past decade. For many years, colon cancer patients had only one drug to use, and it was not very effective. Today, there are many treatments available for colon cancer, although access to these treatments remains a challenge in many countries. 

Treatment largely depends upon the location of the tumor in the colon or rectum and the stage of the disease. Treatment for colorectal cancer may involve surgery, chemotherapy, biological therapy or in some cases, radiation. Some people have a combination of treatments. Treatment for colon cancer is sometimes different than treatment for rectal cancer. Cancer treatment can be local therapy or systemic therapy.

Treatment Options for Colon Cancer


Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ)

 Treatment of Stage 0 (carcinoma in situ) may include the following types of surgery:

  • Local excision or simple polypectomy.

  • Resection and anastomosis. This is done when the tumor is too large to remove by local excision.

Stage I Colon Cancer

Treatment of stage I colon cancer usually includes the following:

  • Resection and anastomosis.

Stage II Colon Cancer

Treatment of stage II colon cancer may include the following:

  • Resection and anastomosis.

  • Preventative chemotherapy.

Stage III Colon Cancer

Treatment of stage III colon cancer may include the following:

  • Resection and anastomosis may be followed by chemotherapy.

Stage IV and Recurrent Colon Cancer

Treatment of stage IV and recurrent colon cancer may include the following:

  • Local excision for tumors that have recurred.

  • Resection with or without anastomosis.

  • Surgery to remove parts of other organs, such as the liver, lungs, and ovaries, where cancer may have recurred or spread. Treatment of cancer that has spread to the liver may also include the following:

    • Chemotherapy is given before surgery to shrink the tumor, after surgery, or both before and after.

    • Radiofrequency ablation or cryosurgery, for patients who cannot have surgery.

    • Chemoembolization of the hepatic artery.

  • Radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be offered to some patients as palliative therapy to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.

  • Chemotherapy and/or targeted therapy with a monoclonal antibody or an angiogenesis inhibitor.

  • Clinical trials of chemotherapy and/or targeted therapy.

IMPORTANT: Always ask your doctor which treatment options may be recommended or appropriate.

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