Bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, occurs when the skin cells lining the inner walls of the bowel and rectum rectum see a malignant growth. Permanent treatment of bowel cancer is possible, but cure depends largely upon the size of the cancer, how far the malignancy has spread in the body and the general health of the bowel cancer patient.
This is the reason why the treatment procedures followed in different patients varies largely. In this page, we give you a list of some of the treatment techniques for bowel cancer.
Types of Treatment for Bowel Cancer
This treatment procedure entails the use of anticancer or cytotoxic drugs. As the drug is released in the bloodstream, it destroys all skin cells in the body which are affected by cancer. Chemotherapy is generally used in the advanced stages of cancer and may be used in combination with other forms of medication to treat malignancy.
In fact, chemotherapy is prescribed to even such bowel cancer patients, in whom complete cure is impossible. The chemotherapy drugs slow down the spread of cancer; hence also prolonging the lifespan of the patient.
Doctors often prescribe chemotherapy tablets which can be taken by the patient at home. However, oral chemotherapy can cause side effects, so it is necessary to get a routine checkup done by your doctor. The intravenous injection used for inserting chemotherapy drugs into the bloodstream is more effective and free of side effects. Microscopic malignant cells in the bowel must first be examined by a qualified medical professional before administering chemotherapy.
In the surgical process, an operation is conducted to diagnose the malignant cells in the bowel and remove the tumor. Sometimes, operation is conducted directly on the cancer afflicted skin cells; at other times the doctors suggest using chemotherapy for reduction of the size of the tumors before taking them out of the bowel.
Surgery is generally avoided if the bowel cancer has spread in a large area of the skin; operating becomes difficult in this case.
The laparoscopic surgery and open surgery methods are followed for treatment of bowel cancer. In this method, the tumors and a small amount of healthy skin surrounding the tumor region is removed. The removal of the surrounding area, also called ‘tumor margin’ is necessary in order to ensure that no cancerous cell is left behind.
In this type of treatment for bowel cancer, high energy radiation in the form of X-rays is used to kill the cancerous tumor. Most often radiotherapy is used in combination with chemotherapy, if cancer attacks only the rectum and not the colon part of the bowel.
Two forms of radiotherapy are used to treat bowel cancer. The first is the external method where rays are passed on the surface of the skin covering the bowel. Five to ten minutes of radiation given in a session extending six to seven sessions is enough to cure bowel cancer.
The second is the internal method where rays are passed on the cancerous tumors and its surrounding skin cells. The internal radiotherapy method is administered only during the last stages of bowel cancer and is available only at specialized treatment centers.
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