Medical treatment for all cancers in general have come a long way in the past thirty years, but there has been especially positive advancements in colon cancer treatment. Let’s review some of the standard and new treatments available to patients.
What is Colon Cancer?
Colon cancer is a subcategory of colorectal cancers. A malignant tumor that develops in the inner wall of the large intestine is considered colon cancer, while a tumor in the rectum is called rectal cancer. This kind of cancer develops from polyps that form in the digestive tract. Most polyps are benign, but some will develop into cancerous tumors over time.
Early Detection Improves Outlook
Due to greater public awareness, more patients are being screened earlier and more often than ever before. This in and of itself is one advancement in colon cancer treatment because the sooner colon cancer is detected, the better the odds are of successful treatment.
In many instances, the oncologist will recommend surgery to remove the tumor. However, colon cancer treatment will vary based on individual criteria such as the size of the tumor and whether or not it has spread elsewhere in the body.
Typically, surgery is followed by chemotherapy and/or radiation. These two treatments have been the standard protocol in the first line of defense for virtually all kinds of cancers for decades now. They work by stopping all cell growth within the body, thereby also halting the growth of cancer cells.
New Breakthroughs in Treatment
The fact that chemotherapy and radiation affect the entire body has been a point of concern for many cancer patients. An oncologist today may also recommend targeted therapies. These are non-chemo medications that are designed to target the cancer instead of the entire body.
As with other areas of medicine, advancements in surgery have been developed to make colon cancer surgery more effective. This includes robotic and laparoscopic surgeries which improve both precision and patient recovery time.
Receiving a colon cancer diagnosis is a frightening experience for any patient. But, there are many reasons to feel optimistic. There are more treatment options for colorectal cancer than ever before, with success rates that improve every year.