Colorectal Cancer

Planning Treatment

There are several treatment options for colorectal cancer, although most treatments begin with surgical removal of either the cancerous polyp or section of the colon. The choice of treatment depends on your age and general health, the stage of cancer, whether or not it has spread beyond the colon, and other factors.

If tests show that you have cancer, you should talk with your doctor and make treatment decisions as soon as possible. Studies show that early treatment leads to better outcomes.

Working With a Team of Specialists

A team of specialists often treats people with cancer. The team will keep the primary doctor informed about the patient's progress. The team may include a medical oncologist who is a specialist in cancer treatment, a surgeon, a radiation oncologist who is a specialist in radiation therapy, and others.

Before starting treatment, you may want another doctor to review the diagnosis and treatment plan. Some insurance companies require a second opinion. Others may pay for a second opinion if you request it.

Clinical Trials for Colorectal Cancer

Some colorectal cancer patients take part in studies of new treatments. These studies, called clinical trials, are designed to find out whether a new treatment is safe and effective.

Often, clinical trials compare a new treatment with a standard one so that doctors can learn which is more effective. People with colorectal cancer who are interested in taking part in a clinical trial should talk with their doctor.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health, through its National Library of Medicine and other Institutes, maintains a database of clinical trials at Click here to see a list of the current clinical trials on colorectal cancer. A separate window will open. Click the "x" in the upper right hand corner of the "Clinical Trials" window to return here.