Colorectal Cancer, Metastatic or Recurrent
Radiation therapy uses X-rays to destroy colorectal cancer cells. It is often combined with surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may also be used to reduce the cancer's size when it is blocking the colon or rectum or to relieve pain from cancer that has spread to other organs.
Radiation treatments are not 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 longer.
Treatment for cancer that has spread to the liver
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 emits radio waves is inserted into the tumor. The radio waves destroy the cancer that has spread to the liver without harming healthy tissue.
- 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. Tumor embolization shrinks a cancer that has spread to the liver by cutting off its blood supply.
- Interstitial radiation therapy. In this type of internal radiation therapy, radioactive material sealed in needles, wires, seeds, or catheters is placed directly into the tumor or body tissue.
- 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.
People sometimes use Reference 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:
- Reference Acupuncture to relieve pain.
- Reference Meditation or Reference yoga to relieve stress.
- Reference Massage and Reference biofeedback to reduce pain and ease tension.
- Reference Breathing exercises for relaxation.
Mind-body treatments like those mentioned 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 potential side effects. Let your doctor know if you are already using any such 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.
Reference Clinical trials are studies designed to find better ways to treat people and are based on the most up-to-date information. There are a number of clinical trials involving the treatment for metastatic or advanced colorectal cancer. If you match the guidelines, you may be able to enroll in one. If you are interested, ask your doctor whether there are trials in which you can participate. The National Cancer Institute or your local chapter of the American Cancer Society can also help you find clinical trials.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 5, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Kenneth Bark, MD - Surgery, Colon and Rectal