The earlier colon cancer is detected, the higher survival rate increase. Colon cancer can be treated successfully with early detection so the best treatment of colon cancer is being checked regularly if you have a family history of it, fall under any of the risks factors for colon cancer, or are the age 50 or above.
Depending on the size of the cancer, location, overall general health, and in what stage the cancer was detected will play a factor into what type of treatment will be discussed with you through your doctor. The most common method of colon cancer treatment is surgical removal often followed by chemo or radiation is it is felt there is any risk of cancerous cells remaining. Surgical removal of cancer in the colon often results in a temporary or permanent colostomy. Your surgeon will remove the cancer from your colon along with a certain percentage of healthy colon on each side of the cancerous growth. They will then reattach the colon. In many cases, if the cancer is not caught at onset, the surgeon will have to remove quiet a large section of the colon leading to the need of a permanent colostomy bag. A colostomy bag becomes the new exit for your bodies waste. Sometimes a patient will have to wear a temporary colostomy bag to give the colon the proper time needed to heal successfully.
Chemotherapy or radiation may follow the surgical procedure if there is any chance that cancer cells were missed or thought to be in other areas of your body. Chemotherapy medications are administered either through an IV or through a pill form. The medication kills and controls cancerous cells. If colon cancer is caught at early onset, and presents very small and isolated, your doctor may consider using just chemotherapy or radiation to eliminate the cancer.
Radiation therapy uses ionizing radiation to control malignant cancer cells either before or after surgery, or both. It can also be done solely if the colon cancer is caught early. Before surgery, it is generally used to control and/or minimize the size of the tumor to make removal of the tumor easier. After surgery it s used to eradicate any existing cancer cells that may still be present. The ionized radiation is applied directly to the tumor and a small amount of the surrounding healthy tissue to ensure that the entire tumor is treated.
Biological therapy is also being offered to patients with colon cancer. It is still on a research basis treatment; however, researches have been seeing significant results. Biologic therapy works with your body's immune system to eliminate cancer cells. Currently there are several different types of biological therapy being tested including interferons, interleukins, colony stimulating factors, monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, gene therapy, and nonspecific immune-modulating agents. Biological therapy can be used in conjunction of more traditional means of therapy, or depending on the stage of colon cancer, it can be used solely. The different types of biologic therapies, in theory, are a means to wake up your own immune system to recognize the cancer cells as being a foreign object in your system and fight them off much like your immune system does when you get a virus. Most of the biologic therapies are used to stop the growth of cancer cells, or control or suppress the growth.
If faced with colon cancer, educate yourself to all of the options available to you and discuss them in detail with your doctor. If you fall in the risk factors of colon cancer such as over the age of 50, previous history of cancer, family history, or other colon/rectal related problems make sure you get regular check ups. Early detection is essential in the battle of colon cancer.