Treating Colon and Rectal Cancer
Colon and rectal cancers are complex diseases. At Adena, we involve specialists from multiple fields of medicine and surgery to treat colon and rectal cancer. With a team approach we facilitate prompt and effective care. You will meet our physicians in a timely manner and your treatment planning will begin quickly.
Every week, physicians from multiple specialties meet at the Adena Colon and Rectal Cancer Tumor Board to review and plan treatment for each and every patient with colon or rectal cancer. Some of these physicians are directly involved in your care and others are there to give input and help with difficult issues. The discussion and planning at tumor board is an essential part of providing you with the best and most-up-to date treatment for your cancer diagnosis.
Treatments for Colon and Rectal Cancer at Adena
Based on the input of the Adena Tumor Board, your physicians will develop an individualized and in-depth treatment plan for your cancer. The Adena Colon and Rectal Cancer nurse navigator will help ensure that you feel comfortable and confident with the treatment plan developed, as well as help you schedule any needed treatments and obtain support services for you.
Colon and rectal cancer treatments can include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery or a combination of treatments:
Surgery is the most common way to treat colon cancers. The surgeon removes the portion of the colon with the tumor and then reconnects the remaining ends of the bowel. This may be combined with chemotherapy and radiation. Two innovative surgery techniques being used at Adena include:
- Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM) to treat rectal cancer
- Robotic assisted surgery to treat colon cancer, rectal cancer, diverticulitis, and inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells and stop new ones from growing. It can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments. After surgery, a pathologist will give detailed information about your tumor and evaluate the lymph nodes that are removed. Your oncologist uses this information to determine if chemotherapy is necessary.
Radiation therapy is commonly used with chemotherapy as the first step in treating rectal cancers. Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by using powerful X-rays or other forms of radiation. After these therapies are complete, surgeons will resect the rectum — a very technical procedure that requires special expertise. The location of the tumor affects how much of the rectum is removed, and every effort is made to remove the portion of the rectum with the tumor and reattach the bowel.
Colostomy requires the removal of the entire rectum and anus. This is needed if the tumor is in the part of the rectum closest to the anus. A colostomy creates an opening in the abdominal wall where the colon empties into a bag. Stool is collected in the bag and emptied when the bag is full. A specially trained nurse (enterostomal therapist) will help you learn to care for your colostomy. Patients with colostomies return to a normal lifestyle.
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