Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Colorectal Cancer Health Center

Select An Article
Font Size

Colorectal Cancer Treatment by Stage

(continued)

Stage IV Colorectal Cancer

Stage IV colorectal cancers have spread outside the colon to other parts of the body, such as the liver or the lungs. Cancer that has spread is also called "metastatic." The tumor can be any size and may or may not include affected lymph nodes (small structures that are found throughout the body that produce and store cells that fight infection).

Treatment may include:

  • Removal of the cancer surgically or another surgical procedure to bypass the colon cancer and hook up healthy colon (an anastomosis).
  • Surgery to remove parts of other organs such as the liver, lungs, and ovaries, where the cancer may have spread.
  • Chemotherapy to relieve symptoms and improve survival
  • Erbitux, Avastin, or Vectibix in combination with standard chemotherapy, depending upon tumor characteristics
  • Zaltrap is a drug also approved for use with chemotherapy in cases where the cancer has progressed or is resistant to treatment
  • Clinical trials of new chemotherapy regimens, or immunological therapy.
  • Radiation to relieve symptoms.

The five-year survival rate for stage IV colon cancer is nearly 8%.

Recurrent Colorectal Cancer

Recurrent colorectal cancer is cancer that returns after surgical treatment, and with or without adjuvant chemotherapy. The recurrence may be local or near the area of the initial cancer, or the cancer may return in distant organs.

The liver is involved in up to 2/3 of patients who die from colorectal cancer.

Recurrence is most likely in patients with more advanced colorectal cancer, at the time of original diagnosis.

Treatment may involve:

  • Surgery to remove the recurrences. This may lengthen life span and in some cases, this is curative when given with chemotherapy.
  • If the metastases can't be removed, chemotherapy is the main treatment.
  • Clinical trials are another option.

 

1|2

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arnold Wax, MD on June 01, 2012
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

colorectal cancer slideshow
SLIDESHOW
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
 
Colon Cancer Survival
VIDEO
Kemeny Chemo Side Effects
VIDEO
 

bread
ARTICLE
Colon vs Rectal Cancer
VIDEO
 
New Colorectal Treatments
VIDEO
can lack of sleep affect your immune system
FEATURE
 

Cancer Facts Quiz
QUIZ
Virtual Colonoscopy
VIDEO
 
Picture of the Colon
ANATOMY
Vitamin D
SLIDESHOW
 

WebMD Special Sections