The recommendedtreatment plan will depend on which part of the Colon and Rectum is affected and how far the cancer has spread, but surgery is usually the main treatment.
If it′s detected early enough, treatment can cure colorectal cancer and stop it coming back. Unfortunately, however, a complete cure is not always possible and there is sometimes a risk that the cancer could recur at a later stage.
In more advanced cases that cannot be removed completely by surgery, a cure is highly unlikely. However, symptoms can be controlled and the spread of the cancer can be slowed using a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and biological treatments where appropriate.
Treatment plans are designed to meet the unique needs of each person with cancer. Treatment decisions for colorectal cancer are based on:
If colon cancer is at a very early stage, it may be possible to remove just a small piece of the lining of the colon wall. This is known as local excision.
If the cancer spreads into muscles surrounding the colon, it will usually be necessary to remove an entire section of your colon. Removing some of the colon is known as a colectomy.
There are two ways a colectomy can be performed:
During surgery, nearby lymph nodes are also removed. It is usual to join the ends of the bowel together after bowel cancer surgery, but very occasionally this is not possible and a stoma (see below) is needed.
Both open and laparoscopic colectomies are thought to be equally effective in removing cancer and have similar risks of complications. Laparoscopic colectomies, however, have the advantage of a faster recovery time and less post-operative pain and this is becoming the routine way of doing most of these operations.
Laparoscopic colectomies should be available in all hospitals carrying out bowel cancer surgery, although not all surgeons perform this type of surgery.