While the most important factor in colorectal cancer is early detection, treatment is an important component. Treatment is driven by how advanced the cancer is. The cancerous tumor must be removed along with adjacent tissue. After this is done, the two ends of the intestines are joined. This is markedly invasive surgery and often will require a temporary colostomy. A colostomy is an opening in the abdomen through which feces are expelled while the patient recovers from the surgery. If the surgery is not too extensive, the colostomy can be reversed in later surgery, and the intestinal tract re-connected to the anus. However, in some cases, the colostomy will be permanent.
Supportive treatments are required following the surgery, especially if the cancer was advanced when diagnosed. These can include radiation and/or chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancerous cells. Other interventions may include therapies designed to stimulate the bodys immune system to fight the disease (Columbia Ency, 2004).
Treatment depends upon the stage of the cancer. The initial treatment is usually local excision of the tumor or excision of a larger part of the colon followed by the joining of the two adjacent ends, a procedure referred to as end-to-end anastomosis. In some cases a colostomy (an opening that allows waste to be expelled through an opening in the abdomen rather than through the anus) is created either temporarily, to allow healing, or permanently, if significant portions of the colon have had to be removed. If the disease is advanced, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or biological therapies (therapies that stimulate the bodys own immune defenses against the disease) may be used in addition to surgery (Columbia Ency, 2004).
Colon Cancer.” The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. New York:.