Colon cancer treatment can vary depending on the extent of the spread of cancerous cells in an individual. There are six types of procedures adopted in the treatment for colon cancer. These are listed below:
- Targeted therapy
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Radiation therapy
Colon Cancer Treatment Procedures
Surgery is the most commonly used procedure for colon cancer treatment. It involves removal of cancerous tumor in an operation. Surgical removal of cancerous cells can be done for treating all stages of colorectal cancer. The different types of surgeries done for colorectal cancer treatment are described below:
- Local excision: Local excision is typically done when cancer is detected at a very early stage. The procedure involves inserting a tube equipped with a cutting tool through the rectum to the colon. The cancer from the colon is then cut out through this tool without actually cutting the abdominal wall.
- Resection of the colon with anastomosis: This procedure is typically adopted when the cancer is relatively larger. The procedure involves the removal of cancerous and some part of healthy tissue around it followed by the stitching together of the healthy parts of the colon.
- Resection of the colon with colostomy: This process involves the removal of the cancerous cells and nearby healthy tissues. However, in this procedure, it is not possible to stitch together the healthy parts of the colon since a large part of the bowel is excised. Therefore, an opening or a stoma is made on the outside of the body through which waste can be passed out of the body with the help of a bag which is placed along the opening.
Another colon cancer treatment method involves the use of radiofrequency ablation. In this method, a special probe that is fitted with tiny electrodes is used for killing cancerous cells. This probe can be directly inserted though the skin by using local anesthesia and can also be inserted within the body by making an incision by using general anesthesia.
Chemotherapy is often used in the treatment for colon cancer. This method involves the use of drugs for either killing cancerous cells or stopping their further proliferation.
Chemotherapy can either be systemic or regional. Systemic chemotherapy refers to the technique wherein drugs are either taken through the mouth or are injected into the veins. These drugs then make their way to the cancerous cells through the bloodstream. Regional chemotherapy involves administering the drugs directly in an organ, body cavity, or the cerebrospinal fluid.
Another colorectal cancer treatment involves using an instrument for freezing and destroying abnormal cancerous cells. This technique is known as cryosurgery and it makes use of liquid nitrogen which has a temperature ranging between minus 346 and minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit for freezing the cancerous cells.
5. Radiation therapy:
Radiation therapy is another type of colon cancer treatment technique which makes use of high energy x-rays and radiation for either killing cancerous cells or stopping them from proliferating further.
Radiation therapy can by external or internal. In external radiation therapy, an external machine is used for directing radiation towards the cancerous cells. In internal radiation therapy, radioactive substances are injected inside the body near the cancerous cells. The radioactive substances can be sealed in catheters, needles, seeds, or wires.
6. Targeted therapy:
Targeted therapy is another common form of colon cancer treatment. This technique involves use of drugs and other substances for identifying and targeting only cancerous cells without causing any harm to the healthy tissues. There are two types of targeted therapies that are often used. One is the use of angiogenesis inhibitors and the other is the use of monoclonal antibodies.
Angiogenesis inhibitors act by blocking the growth of the blood vessels that are required for the proliferation of cancerous cells.
Monoclonal antibodies are typically given by infusion and have the capability of identifying proteins on cancer cells that promote their growth. These antibodies then target those proteins on the surface of the cancer cells and kill them or block their further growth.
Colon Cancer Treatment
Any of the above described treatments can be adopted depending on the stage of cancer. If a specific colon cancer treatment is found to be ineffective, then another one can be adopted.