Colorectal Cancer Treatments2024-06-14T06:43:36-04:00

Colorectal Cancer Treatments

If you’ve been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, your treatment options will depend on a number of factors, including stage and location of the cancer. Your treatment team will review your options with you.

Surgery for Colorectal Cancer

  • Open colectomy:  For early stage cancer, a colectomy (sometimes called hemicolectomy, partial colectomy, or segmental resections) is often performed. During the surgery, your surgeon will make an incision in your abdomen. Usually, a portion of the colon will be removed depending on the size and location of the cancer. The remaining sections of your colon are then reattached, and, at the same time, nearby lymph nodes are removed.
  • Laparoscopic-assisted colectomy:  For earlier stage cancers, this less invasive approach to removing part of the colon and nearby lymph nodes may be an option. Instead, of making one long incision in the abdomen, your surgeon makes several smaller incisions. Instruments, including a small camera, are inserted through these incisions to remove part of the colon and lymph nodes. The camera allows the surgeon to see the inside of the abdomen. When the diseased part of the colon has been identified, it can be removed through one of the incisions.  Because the incisions are smaller than the long incision of an open colectomy, patients may have less complications, less scarring, recover faster and have less pain than they do after standard colon surgery.
  • Robotic-assisted surgery:  The Statesir Cancer Center at CentraState was the first hospital in New Jersey to perform robotic colorectal cancer surgery, which allows surgeons to perform delicate and complex operations through a few tiny incisions with increased vision, precision, dexterity and control.  Benefits include less pain and blood loss, less scarring, shorter recovery time and hospital stay, lower rate of surgical complications and quicker return to your daily activities.
  • Polypectomy and local excision:  Some early colon cancers (stage 0 and some early stage 1 tumors) or polyps can be removed surgically with a colonoscope. With this procedure, the surgeon does not have to cut into the abdomen. For a polypectomy, the cancer is removed as part of the polyp. Local excision removes superficial cancers and a small amount of nearby tissue.
  • Surgical Options for Rectal Cancer: For rectal cancer, surgery is usually the main form of treatment. Several surgical approaches can be used to remove or destroy rectal cancers. It depends on the rectal cancer location and stage.

Radiation Therapy for Colorectal Cancer

Radiation therapy is administered at CentraState’s Karen Olbis Radiation Oncology Center. Our Radiation Oncology Center has earned full accreditation by the American College of Radiology for expertise in Radiation Therapy.

The center is fully equipped with state of the art equipment, plus highly trained and experienced physicians, physicists, dosimetrists, therapists and oncology certified nurses. Therapeutic radiation approaches for colorectal cancer include:

  • External beam radiotherapy (EBR):  Uses a machine called a linear accelerator to deliver high doses of radiation to the cancer site while limiting exposure to healthy tissues and organs and minimizing side effects. This includes: 3-D conformal radiotherapy, Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT)

Chemotherapy for Colorectal Cancer

Chemotherapy is provided at the Jean Mehr Infusion Therapy Center offered through CentraState Medical Center’s Pharmacy Department and administered by Magnet-designated nurses credentialed in chemotherapy and certified in cancer care. Chemotherapy uses medicines that kill or halt the growth of cancer cells. This approach is generally used in three ways:

  • Adjuvant chemo:  Chemo used after surgery is known as adjuvant chemo. It can help keep the cancer from coming back later and has been shown to help people with stage II and stage III colon cancer and rectal cancer live longer. It is given after all visible cancer has been removed to lower the chance that it will come back. It works by killing the small number of cancer cells that may have been left behind at surgery because they were too small to see. Adjuvant chemo is also aimed at killing cancer cells that might have escaped from the main tumor and settled in other parts of the body (but are too small to see on imaging tests).
  • Neoadjuvant chemo: For some cancers, chemo is given (sometimes with radiation) before surgery to try to shrink the cancer and make surgery easier. This is known as neoadjuvant treatment and is often used in treating rectal cancer.
  • Chemotherapy for advanced cancers: The goal of chemotherapy for advanced colorectal cancers is not necessarily to cure the cancer but to relieve symptoms, slow the cancer’s growth and help you live longer.

Clinical Trials for Colorectal Cancer

Some patients may be eligible to participate in clinical trials for colorectal cancer in which they receive an emerging colorectal cancer treatment before it becomes publicly available. Talk to your oncologist or surgeon to learn more. You may also want to speak with your cancer navigator.