Friday, November 20, 2009

Treatment for colorectal cancer

More on the gastro-intestinal disorders can be found here.

For the treatment of colon cancer are essentially 3 eligible therapies:
  • Operation
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
Some of these therapeutic possibilities are also applied in combination.

The operation is paramount.

If the tumor is confined to the intestinal wall, it can be removed surgically good. However, it is necessary to remove the affected bowel, including associated lymph nodes and the connective tissue that attaches the intestines to the rear wall of the abdomen (mesentery), too. The resulting "gap" in the intestine can be bridged by the two resulting tails are linked. In colon cancers, is directly operated by an abdominal incision, in tumors of the rectum is also possible to access the tumor through the anus. Sometimes it is necessary to create the defecation a colostomy (artificial anus) to the newly operated to relieve bowel. To the end of a loop of intestine is sewn into the abdominal wall, where the stool is discharged into a glued-on bag. Depending on the individual situation, such artificial anus can be created as a bridging or a permanent solution.

Metastases can also be operated on.

Surgery is also useful if they have formed individual metastases in the liver and / or in the lungs. These can be removed with a surrounding rim of healthy tissue surgery as well.

Radiation therapy can be applied before and after surgery.

Radiotherapy is mainly performed for tumors in the rectum and that for larger tumors (stage T3 and T4, see "Staging". In general, the irradiation is performed before surgery to shrink the tumor already. Will the radiation therapy applied after surgery, the goal is to kill, and possibly some residual tumor cells. The duration of radiation therapy is highly individual. It depends on the tumor size and the nature and extent of planned or carried out the operation.

Conditions of chemotherapy:

Chemotherapy may be complementary especially if:
  • Metastases
  • A rapidly growing tumor or
  • There are strong tumor-related symptoms.
The duration of treatment varies depending on the individual used drugs (cytostatics, cf "General Treatment") and the overall treatment approach.

A regular follow-up is necessary.

After completion of treatment of a regular follow-up examinations must be performed to detect any recurrence (recurrence of the disease) or metastatic disease early enough and effectively treated. In the event that an artificial anus was constructed, whose condition is monitored in the follow-up as well. Possibly, according to a major intestinal surgery, or after installation of an artificial anus a change in diet necessary. Such counseling is also often included in the follow-up. Follow-up examinations are usually during the first 2 years after completion of therapy in 3-month intervals is required. After that for another 3 years every 6 months. The investigations include a colonoscopy to exclude a relapse and an ultrasound examination of the liver and a chest X-ray to rule out metastases

For early detection of the tumor, the chances of recovery are good.

The chances of a cure for colon cancer depends mainly on the extent of tumor growth within the intestinal wall and the presence of metastases in the lymph nodes. It was found that after surgery, patients without metastases in the lymph nodes, and limited to the inner bowel wall tumor growth 5 years after the operation to 70 - 80 percent (stage I, 95 percent living, 80 percent stage II, stage III 30 - 60 percent). In patients with involvement of lymph nodes, this share is 30 - 50 percent.

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