Colon or colorectal cancer begins in the large intestine or rectum. There are 5 stages to this form of cancer. If the cancer is still contained in the inner most lining of the colon and has not spread anywhere, it is in stage 0. In stage 1, the cancer has expanded from the inner lining to the middle lining. The cancer is considered to be in stage 2 when it has spread past the middle layer. The cancer becomes stage 3 when at least three lymph nodes are affected. In Stage 4, the cancer is in the most developed stage and has already spread to the nearby lymph nodes and most parts of the body.
In the initial stages of cancer, that is stage 0 and stage 1, when it has not spread, then the cancer can be removed surgically. When it is in the later stages, chemotherapy is required after surgery. The treatment is with a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. Chemotherapy refers to the drugs that are utilised to kill cancer cells. These drugs are given in many ways. They can be administered intravenously by injection and intravenously by using a pump. They can also be given in pill form. These drugs have a precise dose and programs for taking them.
Cancer cells grow more quickly than normal cells. Chemotherapy treatments affect fast growing cells and, therefore, will act on the cancer cells. Unfortunately, certain cells of the body also grow quickly. These are cells in the hair, skin cells, immune system and also cells in the digestive system, throat and mouth. Chemotherapy treatments are given for the different stages of cancer and depends on the advance of cancer in the body.
Normally chemotherapy is given in rotations. One may take chemotherapy weekly for eight weeks. Chemotherapy can also be taken every a month for nine months. It could also be received every day of the week. The duration and frequency will depend on the stage of the colorectal cancer.
Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is given before surgery. This is done to shrink the tumour. The surgeon will then be able to remove the tumour with no complications. Radiation along with chemotherapy makes the procedure effective. It will then be possible for the surgeon to remove it.
Adjuvant chemotherapy is given after surgery and removal of the cancer. This is employed to eliminate any cancer cells that the surgery may have missed and those that have spread to the liver.
Primary chemotherapy is done when the cancer is in the final stages and has already spread to the various parts of the body. Chemotherapy is used as surgery alone cannot remove the cancer. It is used to shrink the tumours and make it possible to be surgically removed. Chemotherapy is also given after surgery. The procedure will be able to ease the symptoms. It could also extend ones life.