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Radiation therapy for colorectal cancers.

This year, about 150,000 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The disease affects men and women equally. Colorectal cancer includes malignant or cancerous tumors of the colon and/or the rectum.

The colon extends from the end of the small intestine to the rectum. It consists of ascending, transverse and descending segments. The sigmoid colon is roughly S-shaped and is the lower portion of the descending colon, leading to the rectum. The rectum makes up the last five inches of the colon. Colorectal cancer can affect any of these areas.

Risk factors.

Most colorectal tumors are found in patients over age 50. However, the disease can happen at any age. It’s important that patients know their family history, along with the following risk factors:

  • Diet is high in fat and red meat and low in fruits and vegetables
  • Personal history of colon cancer
  • History of polyps in the colon, ulcerative colitis or Cohn’s disease

Role of radiation oncology in treatment of colorectal cancer.

Surgery is the primary treatment for cancers of the colon and rectum. For localized cancers that have not metastasized, surgery alone may cure the cancer. But, depending on the location and stage of the cancer, chemotherapy and/or radiation colorectal cancer treatments may also be recommended before or after surgery.

With rectal cancer, radiation is often given with chemotherapy. It can be given before surgery as neoadjuvant therapy or after surgery as adjuvant therapy. Depending on the location and stage of the tumor, neoadjuvant therapy may allow the surgeon to spare the anal sphincter. This would avoid the need for a permanent colostomy. It might also reduce the chance of the cancer returning.

Radiation oncologists use radiation therapy colorectal cancer treatments to attempt to cure cancer, control its spread or relieve symptoms such as pain. Radiation therapy works by damaging cancer’s ability to multiply. When cancer cells die, the body naturally eliminates them. Healthy cells are also affected by radiation, but they can repair themselves in a way cancer cells cannot. After a diagnosis of colorectal cancer has been established, it’s important to talk about your treatment options with a radiation oncologist.

External-beam radiation therapy.

External-beam radiation therapy involves a series of daily outpatient treatments to accurately deliver radiation to the area at risk. Before beginning treatment, you will be scheduled for a simulation to map out the area being treated. This will involve having a CT scan in our department. You will also receive tiny tattoo marks on your skin to help the therapists precisely position you for daily treatment.

Newer technologies like three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy (3D-CRT) and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) are being evaluated for use in treatment of colorectal cancer. Ask your radiation oncologist for more information on these treatments.

Trust the area’s technological leaders.

Drs. Yashbir Mehta, Parvathy Kurup and Neil Mehta are all board-certified fellows of the American College of Radiation Oncology. Together, they have introduced the most advanced technologies to the area and they deliver over 50 years of experience in compassionate, effective radiation oncology care.

We welcome your inquiries and referrals.

Beat cancer with our radiation therapy services. Our colorectal cancer patients come to us from Waukegan, Lindenhurst, Antioch, Grayslake, Lake Villa and Gurnee in Lake County, IL. Come to Advanced Radiation Oncology Center and we’ll discuss your cancer care needs. Call 847-623-2114 or use our online Request an Appointment form today.