Colorectal cancer is a cancer that starts in your colon or rectum. Once you are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, your doctor will start talking to you about cancer staging and treatment options. There are different ways to treat colorectal cancer and your options are based on the type and stage of the cancer.
Some treatments are called local therapies because they treat the tumor without significantly affecting other parts of your body.
- Surgery is performed to remove the tumor(s). The kind of surgery is based on whether you have colon cancer or rectal cancer.
- Radiation therapy is used to destroy cancer cells by using high-energy rays.
- Ablation and embolization are processes that are often used to remove the cancer when it has spread to other organs.
Other treatments are called systemic therapies because they are drugs that can go to cancer cells anywhere in the body. They can be taken by mouth or injected into the bloodstream.
- Chemotherapy is used to attack and kill cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy works by getting involved with certain protein production in cancer cells which will stop those cells from growing and spreading to other parts of the body. It can have less serious side effects than chemotherapy.
- Immunotherapy uses your body’s immune system to attack the cancer cells.
It is important to talk to your doctor about your treatment options and possible side effects, which will help you to decide the best treatment for you. Your doctor may need to combine the treatments depending on your situation.
Coping with cancer is a challenge even for the strongest person. Understanding what to expect can help you cope. You can relieve the stress through exercise and doing things you enjoy. You can also find support by talking to your friends and family about your feelings or attend a cancer support group. The Charles B. Wang Community Health Center holds a support group for those who are diagnosed with cancer or cancer survivor each month. The next two sessions are on 3/26/2018 and 4/23/2018. To register, please contact Wenliang Zhu at (212) 226-1661 ext.5202.