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What are the treatment options for colon cancer?

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Quick Answer

The treatment options for colon cancer are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, according to the American Cancer Society. The type of treatment depends on the stage of the cancer.

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Full Answer

Colon cancer at stage 0 has not spread beyond the colon's inner lining, and these cancers are removed by surgery, explains the ACS. Cancerous polyps can be excised, or tumors can be removed through a colonoscope. If the tumor is very large, a colectomy may be necessary.

Stage 1 colon cancer has penetrated through the inner lining into other layers of the colon, but hasn't grown through the colon walls or to the lymph nodes. Again, if the cancer presents as a polyp, the polyp and a margin of tissue around it can be removed. The patient does not need to have further treatment. However, if the polyp is large or there were cancer cells found in the margins, more surgery may be needed.

In stage 2 colon cancer, the malignancy has spread past the wall of the colon but still has not involved the lymph nodes. Both surgery and chemotherapy are recommended for this stage of the cancer. The doctor may also recommend radiation to kill any hidden cancer cells. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are also used to treat stage 3 colon cancer. Surgery might not help much if the cancer has reached stage 4.

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