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How is colon cancer treated?

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Quick Answer

The standard treatments for colon cancer are surgery, radiofrequency ablation, cryosurgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted therapy, according to the National Cancer Institute. The therapy used is largely based on the stage of the cancer, which describes how extensively the disease has spread, the American Cancer Society reports.

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How is colon cancer treated?
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Full Answer

Surgery is typically the first treatment for colon cancer, regardless of its stage, states the National Cancer Institute. At an early stage, a small amount of tissue is removed. However, if the cancer affects a large area, the surgeon may take out part of the colon. In stage four cancer, the disease moves to other parts of the body such as the liver or lymph nodes, the American Cancer Society notes. In some of these cases, tissue in those areas is also removed.

A probe outfitted with cancer-killing electrodes is used during radiofrequency ablation, relates the National Cancer Institute. The probe sometimes simply punctures the skin, but in certain cases it is placed through an incision. Cryosurgery, or cryotherapy, involves utilizing a device that freezes and kills cancer cells. Anticancer drugs are either taken by mouth or inserted into veins or muscles during chemotherapy.

Cancer cells are sometimes killed through radiation therapy, the National Cancer Institute reveals. Radiation is directed toward harmful cells with an external machine or internal instrument. In targeted therapy, substances that impact only specific cancer cells are introduced into the body. "Monoclonal antibodies" are able to kill diseased cells, or keep them localized, while "angiogenesis inhibitors" impact the growth of cancer tumors by limiting their blood supply.

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