Colon Cancer Treatment

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The treatment of colon cancer varies according to cancer stage. For example, a localized cancerous growth could be excised through surgery, but an advanced stage likely requires a combination of treatments.

There are two types of treatment:

  • Standard treatment
  • Clinical trial treatment

Standard treatments are those that have been verified through research and are known to be effective in treating colon cancer. Clinical trials are novel approaches that need more research to be sure of their effects. Clinical treatments involve the patient’s participation in studies to evaluate the effects of new drugs that are thought – but not yet proven – to be effective.

Some clinical trials are open to patients who have not taken any cancer treatment, while others may accept those who are in the middle of their treatment. One of the benefits of participating in clinical trials is that the patient gets to contribute to the knowledge and understanding of new possible treatments. Patients often receive free treatment for participating. However, there are risks involved in such emerging research, as treatment may not be effective and side effects may not be well established.

Standard approaches include a combination of the following treatments:

  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy

Follow-up care

Individuals who have successfully treated colon cancer are considered at risk of recurrence for up to 10 years. The risk is higher in the first few years after treatment, which necessitates a follow-up every three months for the first two years. Follow up may include screening for other types of cancer such as prostate, ovarian, and breast cancer, which have an increased risk of occurring in patients who have had colon cancer.

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