While standard protocols have been established for the treatment of virtually all cancers, physicians will often modify them for their individual patients. These modifications are based on many factors including the patient’s age, general health, desired results, and the specific characteristics of his or her cancer. Since the treatments described in this report represent the standard therapeutic approaches, your physician may not strictly adhere to them.

The goals of colorectal cancer treatment are to kill off cancer cells and prevent tumors from recurring in the same (or other) locations.

The three main types of treatment for colon cancer and rectal cancer are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Depending on the stage of the cancer, one, two, or even three of these types of treatment may be combined at the same time or after one another.

Your doctor will recommend a treatment plan for you based on the following:

  • Size of the tumor
  • How deeply it has invaded the layers of the colon or rectum
  • Whether it has spread to other organs (such as the liver), lymph nodes, or other parts of the body

Existing treatment protocols have been established and continue to be modified through clinical trials. These research studies are essential to determine whether or not new treatments are both safe and effective. Since highly effective treatments for many cancers remain unknown, numerous clinical trials are always underway around the world. You may wish to ask your doctor if you should consider participating in a clinical trial. You can find out about clinical trials at the government website ClinicalTrials.gov .