How is colon cancer treated?
Every patient at Miami Cancer Institute receives a personalized treatment plan put together by our team of medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists and interventional oncologists.
Our philosophy is to find the plan that not only treats the colon cancer, but also fits you as a patient. Your care team will consider your specific diagnosis and type of tumor, the stage of disease, size and location of tumor and whether it has spread to other parts of your body. We also work closely with physical therapists, nurses, nutritionists and psychosocial experts to ensure we address any potential side effects of treatment.
Surgery is typically the first step to treating colon cancer. This is often the only treatment needed if the cancer is caught early. If the cancer is only located in a polyp, your surgeon will be able to remove the cancerous polyps during a colonoscopy.
If the cancer has spread in your colon, your surgeon may remove the part of the colon with the tumor (segmental colectomy), as well as some nearby lymph nodes. Your surgeon will reconstruct your bowel by rejoining the two ends that were cut.
Our renowned surgical oncologists have access to many types of surgical techniques and technologies, including minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery and robotic surgery.
Our interventional oncologists may also use minimally invasive techniques to treat colorectal cancer. These techniques may include:
- Tumor ablation – Using imaging technology, your care team will insert needle-like probes that burn or freeze tumors. This is a minimally invasive procedure, and typically you get to go home the same day.
- Radioembolization (Yttrium-90 radioembolization) – During this procedure, interventional oncologists work with radiation oncologists to deliver high doses of radiation directly to tumors. Doctors insert a thin tube through an artery in the groin and guide it to the tumor. Radioactive beads are injected through the catheter and into the tumor to cut off blood supply to the tumor. This procedure can also help target the tumor during radiation therapy. Radioembolization is generally used if your colorectal cancer has spread to the liver.
If your cancer has spread to other parts of your body, your care team may consider chemotherapy after surgery. This treatment uses medicine — or several medicines — to kill cancer cells. Your oncologists may recommend clinical trials for new chemotherapy treatments, depending on the stage of your cancer.
In rare cases where the cancer has spread and may return, your care team may decide to also use radiation therapy. Targeted therapy may also be used in cases where the colon cancer has advanced.
A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, social workers, patient navigators and clinical trials staff meet weekly to discuss select complex cases and determine the best course of care. Stem cell transplantation experts and hematologic oncology experts are also available to discuss complex cases.
Miami Cancer Institute can provide access to clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Clinical trials find new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and are ongoing. If an appropriate trial is available, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks.
Patient Support Services
Taking care of the whole patient is an important component of providing personalized cancer care. Integrated into the fabric of the Miami Cancer Institute, the Cancer Patient Support Center addresses the psychological, physical, social and spiritual needs of our patients during cancer treatment and beyond.