Colon Cancer | Rectal Cancer
There are different types of treatment for patients with bowel cancer.
Some treatments are standard (the currently used treatment), and some are being tested in clinical trials.
Treatment for bowel cancer is decided by where the cancer is in your bowel; how big the tumour is; the number, size and position of any tumours outside the bowel; the type of cancer cells – their cell type and genetic makeup; your general health and fitness; and your wishes as the patient. Read More
Unlike some other cancers where many treatment choices are available, surgery is the most common treatment for removing the cancer from your bowel.
However, some people will also require chemotherapy and radiotherapy to reduce the size of the tumour and prevent progression of the disease.
If surgery is not an option, then chemotherapy and radiotherapy are offered to halt progression of the disease and to help control the symptoms.
Radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy) is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing.
Radiation therapy can be given before or after surgery. Sometimes radiotherapy and chemotherapy are given at the same time.
The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing.
When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy).
The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.
RAS Biomarker Test
The development of biological therapies, also known as targeted therapies, is an exciting step forward in the treatment of cancer as it may be possible to destroy cancer cells without damaging other healthy cells.
This is a relatively new field of research and many therapies are still experimental.
Targeted therapies are usually given in combination with other standard chemotherapy treatments.
Biological and Biosimilar Medicines
A medicine made from living organisms, such as protein, bacteria or yeast, is known as a biological medicine.
Since the 1980s, hundreds of biological medicines have been approved for the treatment of diseases such as cancers, diabetes, heart attacks, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and many more.
A biosimilar medicine is a very similar version of an already-approved biological medicine, in terms of its characteristics, quality, safety and efficacy.
Clinical & Treatment Trials
Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies designed to look at very specific aspects of a single treatment, or to compare the effectiveness of several different treatments, to establish what is effective in treating a particular disease.
They might be testing new medicines or treatment, or they might be looking at new ways of using current or older treatments to make them work better, or for different types of problems.
Bowel Cancer Australia's nurses support bowel cancer patients and their families by phone and email.
Whether you are worried about symptoms, recently diagnosed or living with bowel cancer our nurses are on hand to offer support and answer your questions and concerns.
Call the Bowel Cancer Australia Helpline on 1800 555 494.
You can also download or order hard copies of our patient booklets and factsheets which cover all aspects of bowel cancer.