Fear. Uncertainty. Anxiety. You can probably add a dozen other emotions to this list when you’re diagnosed with colorectal cancer. One key step to combat the negative thoughts and emotions with hope is to have a solid treatment plan. At Fox Chase, we want you to be equipped with all the information and resources you need to beat this cancer.
One of the first steps we take to outline your treatment plan is to simply spend time talking with you to ensure you understand your diagnosis completely.
You may also be directed to other specialists within our team, usually within the same day, to further discuss your diagnosis and treatment options. Each specialist will be able to explain their specific role in your treatment plan and how it fits into the comprehensive care that you will receive at Fox Chase.
We also make sure you understand your treatment options and any potential side effects.
Social and emotional support is also a high priority. So we can address your loved one’s concerns as well — and discuss ways they can support you during treatment and beyond.
A Treatment Plan Customized for You
Fox Chase is committed to providing treatment options that are based on your specific needs and background, including:
- Medical history
- Current health status
Your treatment will also be tailored to the specific type, stage, and location of the cancer.
Why Genetics Matter When Treating Colorectal Cancer
Genetic counselors work with the patients to identify the risk of cancer to family members and other cancers for the patient by testing the patient’s germline DNA, usually using blood samples.
In contrast, genomic sequencing of the tumor — called somatic mutation analysis — is done to identify new targets for therapy and to determine if immunotherapy will work for the patient.
Treatment Options for Colorectal Cancer: Surgery, Chemotherapy, and Radiation
Getting an exact diagnosis — including stage and location — is vital because it determines the treatment that will be the most effective. For instance, Stage 1 colorectal cancer may only require surgery, but Stages 2, 3, and 4 may likely require chemotherapy or radiation, along with surgery.
At Fox Chase, our experienced medical oncologists are not only up-to-date with the latest advancements in colorectal cancer diagnosis and treatment — we are also actively working to make further advancements.
Getting treatment for colorectal cancer at Fox Chase means having access to new treatments and new uses of those treatments for your cancer.
Treatment for colorectal cancer typically involves surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation.
Surgery can be done to remove a polyp or tumor. It’s often the main treatment for earlier-stage cancers, but it can also offer a chance of cure to selected patients with advanced-stage colorectal cancer. The type of surgery that’s done depends on the cancer’s stage and location, as well as the goal of the surgery.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop cancer cells from growing — either by killing cells or stopping them from dividing. It can be given by mouth, injection, infusion, or on the skin.
Radiation therapy uses electromagnetic waves to destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy for colorectal cancer is usually used with cancers in Stage 2 or 3 that have spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes.
Clinical Trials at Fox Chase
Clinical trials may be an opportunity to explore other treatments — some of which may not be available to patients otherwise. Because trials are not specific to one physician, any gastrointestinal specialist at Fox Chase can determine your eligibility and enroll you in any trial. Visit our clinical trial page for more information.