PDF What You Need to Know About Rectal Cancer - Its Your Life, Live It!

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And sometimes they are given as a shot, or injection. Several medicines are used to treat colorectal cancer. There are also several medicines available for treating side effects. A combination of chemotherapy medicines often works better than a single drug in treating colorectal cancer. This may include medicines such as leucovorin, fluorouracil, and oxaliplatin.

Hair loss can be a common side effect with some types of chemotherapy. But hair loss usually isn't a side effect of these drugs. Your doctor may prescribe medicines that can help relieve side effects of chemotherapy. These side effects can include mouth sores, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Your doctor may prescribe medicines to control nausea and vomiting. There also are things you can do at home to manage side effects. See Home Treatment for more information. Chemotherapy and radiation may be combined to treat some types of colorectal cancer. Radiation or chemotherapy given before or after surgery can destroy microscopic areas of cancer to increase the chances of a cure.

Surgery to remove cancer is almost always the main treatment for colorectal cancer. The type of surgery depends on the size and location of your cancer. Side effects are common after surgery. You may be able to reduce the severity of your side effects at home. Your doctor may suggest radiation therapy or chemotherapy if he or she thinks the cancer may come back recur.

If the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, you may need chemotherapy after your surgery. Or if your surgery shows that the cancer has spread outside your colon or rectum, you may need radiation therapy. Sometimes after a bowel resection, the two ends of the colon or rectum can't be sewn back together. When this happens, a colostomy is performed. But most people don't need a colostomy. Radiation therapy uses X-rays to destroy colorectal cancer cells and shrink tumors. It is often used to treat rectal cancer, usually combined with surgery. It is used less often to treat colon cancer.

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It may also be combined with chemotherapy. Compared to surgery alone, radiation given before surgery may reduce the risk that rectal cancer will return, and it may help you live longer.


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People sometimes use 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:. Mind-body treatments like the ones listed 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 side effects.

Let your doctor know if you are already using any of these 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. You may be interested in taking part in research studies called clinical trials.

Clinical trials are based on the most up-to-date information. They are designed to find better ways to treat people who have cancer. People who don't want standard treatments or aren't cured by standard treatments may want to take part in clinical trials. These are ongoing in most parts of the United States and in some other countries around the world for all stages of colorectal cancer. Author: Healthwise Staff. Medical Review: E.

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Colorectal Cancer. Skip Navigation. Topic Overview Is this topic for you? What is colorectal cancer? What causes colorectal cancer? What are the symptoms? See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms: Pain in your belly Blood in your stool or very dark stools A change in your bowel habits, such as more frequent stools or a feeling that your bowels are not emptying completely How is colorectal cancer diagnosed?

How is it treated? How can you screen for colorectal cancer? Health Tools Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health. Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems. Actionsets are designed to help people take an active role in managing a health condition.

Advanced disease | Treatment | About bowel cancer | Bowel Cancer UK

Bowel Disease: Caring for Your Ostomy. Cause Most cases begin as polyps , which are small growths inside the colon or rectum. Symptoms Colorectal cancer in its early stages usually doesn't cause any symptoms. The most common symptoms include: Pain in the belly.

Colorectal Cancer: Types of Treatment

Blood in your stool or very dark stools. A change in your bowel habits. You may have more frequent stools or a feeling that your bowels aren't emptying completely. Constant tiredness fatigue. In rare cases, unexplained weight loss. What Happens How cancer grows and spreads Cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the body. Survival rates The long-term outcome, or prognosis, for colorectal cancer depends on how much the cancer has grown and spread.

This means that 90 or more out of people will still be alive in 5 years if the cancer is found early and treated before it has spread.

This means that 71 out of people will still be alive in 5 years if the cancer has spread to nearby organs and lymph nodes. This means that 14 out of people will still be alive in 5 years if the cancer has spread to the liver, lungs, or other organs in the body. What Increases Your Risk A risk factor for colorectal cancer is something that increases your chance of getting this cancer. Risks you can change There are lifestyle actions you can take to lower some of the risk factors for colorectal cancer. These actions include: Maintain a healthy weight.

Be physically active. Eat healthy foods, including vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Avoid eating a lot of red meat or processed meats.

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Practical Advice for Living With Colorectal Cancer

If you smoke, get help to quit. If you drink alcohol, limit how much you drink. Risks you can't change Your age Getting older is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. Your race and ethnicity African Americans have a higher risk of getting colorectal cancer and dying from it than people of other races. Your family's medical history You are more likely to get colorectal cancer if one of your parents, brothers, sisters, or children has had the disease. Your medical history Your chances of getting colorectal cancer are higher if you have had: Colorectal cancer in the past.

Another type of cancer, such as cancer of the ovary or cancer of the endometrium. Adenomatous polyps removed from your colon.

Young colorectal cancer survivor focuses on life after cancer

Ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. Radiation therapy in your abdomen or pelvis. When should you call your doctor? Call your doctor if you have any symptoms of colorectal cancer, such as: A change in bowel habits. Bleeding from your rectum, including bright red or dark blood in your stools or stools that look black. Constant or frequent diarrhea, constipation, or a feeling that your bowel doesn't empty completely. Stools that are narrow may be as narrow as a pencil. Belly pain or problems with gas or bloating. Unexplained weight loss.