Radiation treatment uses X-rays to destroy
colorectal cancer cells. It is often combined with
surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation may also be used to reduce the
cancer's size when it is blocking the colon or rectum.
Radiation treatments aren't likely to cure
metastatic or recurrent colorectal cancer. But they
may ease pain and discomfort, slow the spread of the disease, and help you live
Beginning at the age of 50, everyone should be screened regularly for colorectal cancer (earlier screening is recommended for some high-risk groups). There are several options.
The traditional screening routine was for the doctor to perform a digital rectal exam once a year and for you to collect three stool samples to be tested for traces of blood. Also, every three to five years you would receive a sigmoidoscopy and a double-contrast barium enema to look at the lower part of the bowel. If anything...
Sometimes colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver can be removed
by surgery. But usually other treatments are needed, such as:
Radiofrequency ablation. A small wire that sends out radio waves is inserted into the
tumor. The radio waves destroy the cancer that has spread to the liver without harming healthy
Cryosurgery. This may be done in
surgery for cancer that has spread to the liver. Liquid nitrogen
is used to freeze and destroy cancer cells.
Embolization. This shrinks a cancer that has spread to the liver by
cutting off its blood supply.
Interstitial radiation therapy. In
this type of internal radiation treatment, radioactive material sealed in
needles, wires, seeds, or catheters is placed directly into the tumor or body
Intra-arterial hepatic chemotherapy. The surgeon implants a small pump in the belly that
delivers chemotherapy right into the tumor. The pump can be left in place as
long as needed.
Clinical trials are studies that look for new treatments. If you are interested, ask your
doctor if there are trials you can take part in. The National
Cancer Institute or your local chapter of the American Cancer Society can also
help you find clinical trials.
People sometimes use complementary therapies along with medical treatment to help relieve symptoms and side effects of treatments. Some of the complementary therapies that may be helpful include:
These treatments may help you feel better. They can make it easier to cope with cancer treatments. They also may reduce chronic low back pain, joint pain, headaches, and pain from treatments.
Before you try a complementary therapy, talk to your doctor about the possible value and side effects. Let your doctor know if you are already using any such therapies. These treatments aren't meant to take the place of standard medical treatment. But they may improve your quality of life and help you deal with the stress and side effects of cancer treatment.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
January 29, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this