Some type of surgical procedure is always the first treatment response to remove tumors in colorectal cancer, with the exception of stage 4 cancers, states WebMD. Adjuvant therapies such as radiation and chemotherapy may be added depending upon the cancer’s stage.
Even in stage 1 cancers, in which the tumors have spread only to the inner wall of the colon and not outside the colon, surgery is used to remove the cancer, small amounts of tissue that surround it, and often adjacent lymph nodes, explains WebMD. If the tumors are small, a colonscope may be used, and the procedure is performed either laparoscopically or with larger incisions in the open method. Adjuvant treatments are usually not required, and the five-year survival rate is 93 percent. Because chemotherapy is not shown as advantageous after surgery for stage 2 cancers, it is usually reserved for use in stages 3 and 4.
Radiation therapy is used after surgery in stages 3 and 4 colorectal cancer to destroy the remaining cancer cells, according to WebMD. It is sometimes used before surgery, along with chemotherapy, to reduce tumor size and facilitate an easier surgery. Radiation therapy is also used when the tumor involves another abdominal organ. Five biologic therapy drugs are used to treat advanced colorectal cancer that has metastasized, which block the blood supply and growth-promoting protein that allow the cancer to thrive.