Chemotherapy for Colorectal Cancer

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Aug 09, 2012

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Chemotherapy is a kind of treatment that helps kill cancer cells. Cancer cells grow in various organs in the body and spreads rapidly if not put under control. Chemotherapy uses anti cancer cells, cytotoxic drugs to destroy the cancer cells. The drug prevents the cancer cells from spreading in the human body. Chemotheraphy can be given in two different ways, namely Systematic Chemotherapy and the other is Regional Chemotherapy.


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Let’s take a look at the two first:


Systematic Chemotherapy – This type of chemotherapy uses drugs that are injected into the vein or is given through the mouth. This is good for patients whose cancer cells have spread beyond the affected cancer organ.


Regional Chemotherapy – In this type of chemotherapy the drug is directly injected into the artery that leads to the direct organ of the body which has been affected. There is a limited amount of this drug that reaches the rest of the body and hence the side effect is limited.


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For a person suffering from Colorectal Cancer, chemotherapy can be given at three various stages:


Adjuvant Chemotherapy – This given after the cancer has been surgically removed. Because cancer cells cannot be completely removed, hence this is used in order to kill and reduce any leftover smaller cells. This also helps in keeping the cancer from coming back later and has usually helped patients who are in stage II and III of rectal colon and rectal cancer to live longer.


Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy – When chemotherapy is used given a surgery, it is known as neo-adjuvant chemotherapy. This is done so that the cancer cell reduces in size and it makes it easier for a surgery.


Primary Chemotherpy - This type of chemotherapy is used when colorectal cancer is advanced and has already spread to different parts of the body. In such a situation, surgery cannot eliminate the cancer from its roots. The next best thing is to be treated with chemotherapy that may shrink tumors, alleviate symptoms, and prolong life.

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The side effects of chemotherapy may be the following:

  1. nausea and vomiting
  2. loss of appetite
  3. hair loss
  4. mouth sores
  5. rash on the hands and feet
  6. diarrhoea
  7. low blood count.


Chemotherapy is your only safe bet for a cure for cancer apart from a surgery of course. Try and identify your cancer at the earliest so that most of it can get removed and is prevented from spreading to other organs of your body.



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