Colon Cancer Treatment: An Overview

Colon cancer is one of the most common cancers that humans develop. It can be hard to treat in the later stages, but it is actually quite treatable early on. This is why screening is pushed so heavily; screening helps ensure early detection. If you are diagnosed with colon cancer, learning more about treatment can give you comfort. So, here is a basic overview of the most common treatments for colon cancer.


Almost every case of colon cancer is treated surgically. The part of the colon that has cancerous growths has to be removed. In early-stage colon cancer, the surgery may be a simple procedure to remove the growths. This can even be done during a colonoscopy in some cases. If your colon cancer is more progressed by the time it is detected, you may need a more intensive surgery, performed through an abdominal incision. If a short portion of your colon is removed, you'll have a few weeks' recovery period and a simple incision to heal. If a larger portion of your colon needs to be removed, you may need a colostomy bag, which is an external bag that collects your solid waste as your natural colon did previously.


It is common for colon cancer patients to undergo radiation treatment after they have surgery. The radiation treatment kills any cancerous cells that are left behind post-surgery. Usually, the radiation will be delivered in a hospital setting. You may only need one treatment, or you may need several, depending on the severity of your cancer. Most people do feel quite ill for a few days after radiation treatment, and it does have some long-term side effects, such as loss of fertility. Talk about these side effects with your doctor.


Chemotherapy is not used for every case of colon cancer. It's typically only needed if the colon cancer has spread to other tissues or if your doctor believes it is likely to spread even after surgery. Chemo is usually given via an IV in a hospital setting. It can be hard on your body, leading to side effects like nausea and exhaustion. However, it may just be the thing that saves your life in the end.

Colon cancer is scary, but there are treatments available, and they are getting better every day. Make sure you get screened for colon cancer so that if you do have it, you can have it diagnosed early when it's easier to treat.

Contact your doctor for more information about colon cancer treatment