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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

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Colorectal Cancer - Other Treatment

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses X-rays to destroy colorectal cancer cells and shrink tumors. It is often used to treat rectal cancer, usually combined with surgery. It is used less often to treat colon cancer. It may also be combined with chemotherapy.

Radiation may be given:

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General Information About Rectal Cancer

Incidence and Mortality Estimated new cases and deaths from rectal cancer in the United States in 2013:[1] New cases: 40,340 (rectal cancer only). Deaths: 50,830 (colon and rectal cancers combined). It is difficult to separate epidemiological considerations of rectal cancer from those of colon cancer because epidemiological studies often consider colon and rectal cancer (i.e., colorectal cancer) together. Epidemiology Worldwide, colorectal cancer is the third most common...

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  • Externally, using a machine outside the body that points a beam of radiation at the tumor.
  • Internally, by placing tiny radioactive "seeds" next to or into the cancer.

Compared to surgery alone, radiation given before surgery may reduce the risk that rectal cancer will return, and it may help you live longer.5

Complementary therapies

People sometimes use complementary therapies along with medical treatment to help relieve symptoms and side effects of cancer treatments. Some of the complementary therapies that may be helpful include:

Mind-body treatments like the ones listed above 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 of these therapies. Complementary therapies are not 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.

Clinical trials

You may be interested in taking part in research studies called clinical trials. Clinical trials are based on the most up-to-date information. They are designed to find better ways to treat people who have cancer. People who don't want standard treatments or aren't cured by standard treatments may want to take part in clinical trials. These are ongoing in most parts of the United States and in some other countries around the world for all stages of colorectal cancer.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: 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 information.
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