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Colon Cancer Treatment Options

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Updated: October 17, 2008

Three standard colon cancer treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

1. Surgery

Colon surgery is the most common treatment for colon cancer. In ideal situations, where the cancer is found at a very early stage, a doctor can remove the tumor with a colonoscope. Most of the time however, colon surgery is required.

2. Chemotherapy

Our bodies are made up of billions of cells that grow, divide, and then die in a predictable manner. Cancer occurs when something goes wrong with this system, causing uncontrolled cell division and growth. Chemotherapy literally means "chemical treatment" and is one way to help the body kill off cancer cells and try to keep them from dividing (making more of themselves). Chemotherapy is sometimes recommended for stage 2 colon cancer, and usually recommended for stage 3 and stage 4 colon cancer.

3. Radiation Therapy

The word "radiation" doesn't seem to belong with "therapy." We tend to think of radiation as something to avoid at all costs. We associate it with atomic bombs, too much sun, and standing too close to the microwave. In truth though, we're all exposed to radiation. It's not good for us, but we deal with it. Patients who receive radiation therapy as a colon cancer treatment are in a similar situation.

Source: "Detailed Guide: Colon and Rectum Cancer: How Is Colorectal Cancer Treated?" American Cancer Society 22 Feb. 2006. Accessed 21 Jul. 2007 [http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_4x_How_is_colorectal_cancer_treated_10.asp?sitearea=].

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