What are the Treatments for Colon Cancer?

August 30, 2021

colon cancer treatment

knowing your stage and treatment options

by Jamal Ross

If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer, it is important to know your treatment options. Some early-stage colon cancer can be treated with surgery alone without the need for chemotherapy. When colon cancer has been given time to grow, surgery and chemotherapy can be needed. The treatment course depends on the stage of your disease. There are 4 stages of colon cancer. With each stage we will discuss the treatment course. Let’s find out more about each stage of colon cancer and how it is treated.

Before your doctor devises a treatment plan for colon, the stage of this disease needs to be determined. This is done in a number of ways. A CT scan of the chest, abdomen and pelvis is typically used to help determine if the cancer has extended beyond the colon. Further information about the stage of colon cancer can also be found during surgery. If you have colon cancer, ask about the stage of this disease and if there are any other blood tests that might be needed.

The first stage of colon cancer is stage 1. Stage 1 colon cancer is confined to the colon. It has note spread to any other organs. Furthermore, the lymph nodes near the sight of the cancer do not have any cancer in them. Remember, lymph nodes as the drainage centers in our bodies and can serve as a highway for cancer to spread. Therefore, when the lymph nodes are negative, this is a very good news. Also, your doctor may not know if the lymph nodes are negative for cancer until a surgery is performed to remove the main cancer and take a sample of the lymph node. Stage 1 colon cancer is treated with surgery alone. The 5-year disease free survival rate is 90 – 95%. (1) This is amazing news and highlights the importance or early detection and treatment of colon cancer.

The next stage of colon cancer is stage 2. With stage 2 disease, the cancer through the full thickness of the bowel, but the lymph nodes do not have cancer in them. Stage 2 colon cancer is treated with surgery, but further studies on the tumor will need to be done to determine if the cancer is considered high risk. When your doctor is trying to determine if the cancer is high risk, there are a lot of things to consider, including the genetics of the cancer cells themselves. If you have been diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer, ask your doctor if the cancer is low or high risk. If the cancer is low risk, you will not need chemotherapy. The 5-year disease free survival rate for colon cancer is 75-80%. (1) Again, early detection means better chances of survival in the battle against colon cancer.

Those with stage 3 and 4 colon cancers with need both surgery and chemotherapy. Stage 3 colon cancer means the lymph nodes have tested positive for cancer. Stage 4 disease means the cancer has spread to other organs in the body. The 5-year disease free survival rate for stage 3 colon cancer is 25 – 70%. The 5-year disease free survival rate for stage cancer is 0 – 10%. (1) Stage 4 colon cancer also needs further studies on performed on the cancer cells to determine more information about its genetics. Depending the genetics of stage 4 colon cancer, additional medications cancer be use to fight this disease. Therefore, there is always hope, even for stage 4 colon cancer. Stage some 4 cancers are also considered curable, which is discussed in our blog: Is stage 4 colon cancer curable?

When we look at the stages of colon cancer, on truth rings truth: detecting colon cancer at an early treatable stage greatly improves survival. This deadly disease is easily prevented when it is in its infancy. Getting a colonoscopy at the appropriate age based on your doctors’ recommendations is extremely important. We know that God can heal any disease, but this does not excuse us of our responsibility to listen to our health professions and do everything we can to fight this disease as well.

1. In Alguire, P. C., & American College of Physicians, (2018). MKSAP 18: Medical knowledge self-assessment program.

Jamal Ross

Dr. Jamal Ross is an internist and pediatrician who possesses a passion for prayer and preventative medicine. He has worked in the fields of primary care and hospital medicine.

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