CHC – The Cancer & Hematology Centers

Our Colon Cancer Treatment Near You

A colon cancer diagnosis can be challenging and life-changing. However, it’s often extremely treatable compared to most types of cancer. Discover more about the available colon cancer treatments near you, the different stages of colon cancer, and what you should expect and know.

The Five Colon Cancer Stages

Like other types of cancer, colon cancer is separated into five stages depending on how much it has spread. This is a general guideline—other factors not listed may also be involved in identifying your cancer’s stage, including its presence in your lymph nodes and other parts of the body.

Stage 0 Colon Cancer

This is the earliest stage of colon cancer, meaning it has not spread anywhere outside a polyp in your colon. At this point, your surgeon will typically find it during a colonoscopy, but you probably won’t experience any other symptoms.

Stage 1 Colon Cancer

Stage 1 colon cancer is usually considered still localized to one part of the colon, but may have reached other layers. If you have polyps, they may also be growing during this stage. At this stage, the cancer has not usually spread to any lymph nodes or places outside the colon.

Stage 2 Colon Cancer

With stage 2 colon cancer, the cancer has begun to reach the outer layers of the colon and may be starting to grow in neighboring organs or tissues. In many cases, this stage may require a colectomy.

Stage 3 Colon Cancer

Stage 3 cancer spreads outside of the colon, including to nearby organs and some nearby lymph nodes. You may require more aggressive treatments in addition to surgery to prevent the cancer from spreading any further.

Stage 4 Colon Cancer

At stage 4, the colon cancer has spread to other parts of the body outside of the bowels. It may be present in lymph nodes far away from the colon, or other organs such as your liver or lung. Aggressive treatments like targeted therapy and radiation therapy are usually necessary at this stage to get the cancer under control.

Colon Cancer Signs

The early signs of colon cancer may be unnoticeable since colon polyps don’t usually cause symptoms on their own. However, when symptoms appear, they can include:

  • A change in digestive habits, like constipation or frequent diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding or bloody stools
  • Ongoing cramps, gas, or pain
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • A feeling that your bowels haven’t emptied when you go to the bathroom

Treatments for Colon Cancer

Colon Cancer Surgery

Surgery is one of the most common treatment options for colon cancer, with many surgeries occurring at the same time as your routine colonoscopy. From there, you might not need any further action.

However, your surgeon or oncologist may recommend a separate, standalone procedure to remove larger polyps and a small portion of the affected area in your colon. The latter surgery is called a partial colectomy.

Targeted Therapy for Colon Cancer

Targeted drug therapy uses medication that targets the proteins in colon cancer cells to destroy them or stop them from growing. This process is similar to chemotherapy, but it only attacks the cancer cells in your colon rather than any other cells in your body that naturally grow quickly. 

Specialists at The CHC use targeted therapy for colon cancer that has spread to larger parts of the colon or other parts of the body.

Colon Cancer Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, uses atomic X-rays, gamma rays, or other particles to kill cancer cells. Colon cancer patients who require it receive radiation therapy from a machine that aims a beam of invisible radioactive rays at the tumors in the colon.

This radiation is painless, and it won’t make you radioactive after you finish a round of treatment, so it’s safe to be around others once you’re finished. Your oncologist will typically only recommend radiation if the tumor is in or near your rectum. They may also recommend pairing it with chemotherapy treatments.

Immunotherapy for Colon Cancer

Immunotherapy uses medicines to boost your immune system, allowing your cells to recognize and destroy colon cancer cells more easily. It works by blocking or allowing certain proteins in your body to attach to T cells, helping your immune system recognize when to trigger a response and attack the cancer cells in your colon, destroying them.

However, immunotherapy isn’t the right treatment for everyone. Your oncologist will talk with you about whether your cancer is likely to respond to immunotherapy, and which type it might respond to, based on the results of a biopsy and other tests. 

Clinical Trials for Colon Cancer Treatment

Doctors and scientists are constantly searching for new ways to treat and cure colon cancer. Clinical trials are a critical part of that research.

Patients who join colon cancer clinical trials have the opportunity to receive forms of cancer treatment that might not be available to the public yet. These cutting-edge methods may also be more effective than existing treatments, especially for cancer that has spread. 

Local Treatment Options for Colon Cancer in West Michigan

No two cases of colon cancer are exactly alike. That’s why at the Cancer & Hematology Centers, we treat every person’s diagnosis as an individual case. Not only do we provide multiple types of treatment for colon cancer, but we also offer cutting-edge procedures and clinical trials to set you on the path to recovery faster.

Learn More About Treating Your Colon Cancer with The CHC

Our team of oncologists and colon cancer specialists is here to help you through every step of the treatment process. To learn more about colon cancer treatment near you in West Michigan, call 800-411-7999 today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Is Colon Cancer Detected?

There’s a reason why colonoscopies are considered the best way to prevent colon cancer for anyone age 45 and older—they can detect the polyps where cancer forms and remove them before they become a problem.

During your colonoscopy, your surgeon uses a long, slender tube with a video camera attached to it to view your colon from the inside. They may also remove polyps and take tissue samples, making it easier for them to detect cancer that may already be developing.

Is Colon Cancer Hereditary?

While some people can have a family history of colorectal cancer that impacts their likelihood of a colon cancer diagnosis, most colon cancers are not hereditary. However, risk factors for colorectal cancer such as your weight, activity level, whether you smoke, and how much alcohol you drink can impact your likelihood of developing cancer.

Is Colon Cancer Curable?

Colon cancer survival rates are very high, and the disease is very curable, especially when it’s localized. Roughly half of all cases can be treated with surgery alone. However, it’s essential to detect the cancer early for the best possible results, making it important to get a colonoscopy regularly.

Can Women Get Colon Cancer?

Yes. While colon cancer is slightly more common among men, women can also develop colon cancer, making regular colon cancer screenings essential for people of all genders.