What treatments are available for colon and rectal cancers and what are the success rates?
For colon cancer treatment usually involves surgery to remove the tumor followed by chemotherapy depending of the stage of the cancer. Chemotherapy is not needed for stage one and stage two disease unless the tumor has pathological or biological markers that suggest a more aggressive cancer. All stage three and stage four cancers receive chemotherapy. Stage four is the most advanced stage—when the tumor has spread to other organs. Rectal cancer treatment is different in that it may involve chemotherapy and radiation first, followed by surgery, then more chemotherapy based again on the four possible stages of cancer. Studies have shown that giving radiation and chemotherapy before surgery not only decreases the size of the cancer, enabling a better resection, but reduces the risk of local recurrence. Recurrent rectal cancer is not easy to surgically remove because of the location in the pelvis. Successful treatment depends on several factors that include the stage of the cancer as well as genetic, pathologic and biological markers. Colon and rectal cancers are survivable cancers. The earlier they are found the better the prognosis. This is why everyone should have appropriate screening depending on their risk factors.