The mainstay of treatment is surgery. The cancer, its surrounding fat, and lymph glands are removed during surgery. The two ends of the cut section are joined together. If for some reason the colon cannot be joined, an artificial opening for the colon, called a colostomy, may be required. This opening allows waste to be removed from the body when the normal opening cannot be used or has to be removed. A colostomy may be temporary or permanent.
Depending on the stage of the cancer, chemotherapy may be required after surgery to improve a person's chance of cure from the cancer. Chemotherapy involves injections of anti-cancer drugs into a vein on the hand. Chemotherapy, which lasts from 6 to 12 months, usually causes mild mouth ulcers, mild diarrhoea, mild hair loss, possible darkening of complexion, and nausea. The most common medicine used is 5- fluorouracil, though other drugs may be also be used.
Again, the mainstay of treatment is surgery. Due to the position of the rectum in the bony pelvis, the chance of cancer radiation therapy is sometimes used to reduce the size of the colorectal cancer before surgery. More often, it is used after surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells and prevent the cancer from recurring.
Radiotherapy involves giving high-energy rays into a small area where the original cancer was. The course of treatment, given daily for 5 minutes, usually lasts 5 to 6 weeks. Side effects which may occur include diarrhoea, tiredness, skin redness and rash. In some women, radiotherapy brings on early menopause.
As with colon cancer, chemotherapy may also be required, after surgery. Radiotherapy may be given together with chemotherapy.
A prognosis is the probable outcome of an illness based upon all the relevant facts of the case. All findings from clinical examination and x-ray investigations and pathology reports are important and must be considered together to decide what the progress of an individual case of colorectal cancer may be. From this, the appropriate course of treatment can be decided and put into action. The treatment strategy will vary from person to person. With prompt and appropriate treatment, the outlook for a person with early colorectal cancer is good.
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