There are a number of common approaches in treating colon cancer Before making any decision concerning treatment, you must discuss the treatment options before you and their potential effects with your physician.
Surgery (partial excision of the colon, colectomy) – removal of the affected part of the colon and reconnecting the healthy parts (alignment – anastomosis)
Chemotherapy – drugs (that are administered by injection or orally) that kill the cancer cells cause shrinking of the tumor and the slowing of the tumor growth.
Targeted therapy – drugs (often drugs based on monoclonal antibodies) that disrupt the growth of malignant cells (anti-angiogenic drugs – inhibit the growth of blood vessels), anti-epidermal growth factor drugs; sometimes these drugs are used in combination with chemotherapy
Irradiation – based on the use of high energy x-rays for destroying the malignant cells; used in treatment of colon cancer in rare cases only; more common for treating rectal cancer.
Review of the biological characteristics of your tumor
Maybe you want to know that the Colon Oncotype DX Cancer Test® for colon cancer is the first diagnostic test of its type that helps identify your risk for recurrence of cancer after surgery. It offers information about the biological activity of the individual tumor that cannot be detected using traditional technologies. After receiving the information that is provided by the Oncotype DX ® test for the colon, you and your doctor can make a therapeutic decision that is based on more information and plan treatment that is individually tailored to you.
Treatment by stage
During the development of the treatment plan for colon cancer, it is important to consider the stage of your cancer. In accordance with the stage, use may be made of more than one therapeutic approach.
A number of examples follow. You must talk to your doctor about the specific treatment plan for you.
Stage 0: a local operation (removal of polyps or larger tumors)
Stage I: an operation and then follow up
Stage II: an operation followed by chemotherapy or follow up
Stage III: an operation followed by chemotherapy
Stage IV: an operation, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy.
Disease recurrence: an operation if recurrence is local; chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiotherapy as necessary.
The need for the treatment plan
After you have been diagnosed as suffering from colon cancer, you and your physician work together on the planning of the appropriate treatment after the operation. The aim is to prevent the recurrence of colon cancer. One of the key steps in planning treatment is understanding the likelihood for recurrence of colon cancer. The risk for recurrence is an important consideration in the decision of whether a patient in stage II colon cancer is supposed to receive chemotherapy after the operation or not. For a patient who has stage III colon cancer, the risk for recurrence may be of assistance in the selection of the most suitable chemotherapy. The Oncotype DX® Colon Cancer Test for colon cancer provides a method for estimating the risk for colon cancer recurrence, both for stage II and stage III, and allows you to make a more educated decision on your treatment.