Many colon cancer treatment options are available for colorectal cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. For colon cancers that have not spread to distant sites, surgery is usually the primary or first treatment. Adjuvant (additional) chemotherapy may also be used. Most adjuvant treatment is given for about 6 months.
Since these cancers have not grown beyond the inner lining of the colon, surgery to take out the cancer is all that is needed. This may be done in most cases by polypectomy (removing the polyp) or local excision through a colonoscope. Colon resection (colectomy) may occasionally be needed if a tumor is too big to be removed by local excision.
These cancers have grown through several layers of the colon, but they have not spread outside the colon wall itself (or into the nearby lymph nodes). Partial colectomy — surgery to remove the section of colon that has cancer and nearby lymph nodes — is the standard treatment. You do not need any additional therapy.
Many of these cancers have grown through the wall of the colon and may extend into nearby tissue. They have not yet spread to the lymph nodes.
Surgery (colectomy) may be the only treatment needed. But your doctor may recommend adjuvant chemotherapy (chemo) if your cancer has a higher risk of coming back.
In this stage, the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, but it has not yet spread to other parts of the body.
Surgery (partial colectomy) followed by adjuvant chemo is the standard treatment for this stage.
The cancer has spread from the colon to distant organs and tissues such as the liver, lungs, peritoneum, or ovaries.
In most cases surgery is unlikely to cure these cancers. However, if only a few small areas of cancer spread (metastases) are present in the liver or lungs and they can be completely removed along with the colon cancer, surgery may help you live longer and may even cure you. Chemo is typically given as well, before and/or after surgery. In some cases, hepatic artery infusion may be used if the cancer has spread to the liver.