Strategies for the treatment of colorectal cancer vary, depending on the tumor’s development. Small tumors that are caught early on may be removed using minimally invasive techniques, while more advanced cancers may require extensive surgical procedures in combination with other forms of therapy. At Moffitt Cancer Center, the cancer experts within our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program come together as a multispecialty collaborative team to assess each patient’s condition and devise a highly individualized treatment plan. This team – consisting of surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, endoscopy specialists, supportive care specialists and other medical professionals – meets weekly as a tumor board to monitor each patient’s progress, ensuring that every person under our care receives the most comprehensive treatment available.
Some of the colorectal cancer treatment methods our team might recommend include:
- Surgery – A surgeon, using procedures such as a large bowel (colon) resection, laparoscopic colon resection, or anal sphincter-preserving surgery for rectal cancer, may remove some or all of the affected tissue as well as surrounding tissues and possibly nearby lymph nodes. At Moffitt, we also can include transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM), which decreases pain and recovery time. This procedure is most often used for rectal polyps and early rectal cancers.
- Chemotherapy – Using therapeutic drugs that are introduced into the body either orally or by injection (also called systemic chemotherapy), a medical oncologist will seek to destroy the tumor or slow its growth. At Moffitt, we also offer innovative targeted drug therapy, chemoembolization and vaccine therapy.
- Radiation therapy – High-energy X-rays are directed at the tumor to destroy the cancer cells. This can be done with a machine outside of the body, or through an internal probe or implant in a process called brachytherapy. We offer some of the most advanced radiation therapy methods, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and Novalis therapy.
In addition, at Moffitt we have a robust clinical trials program that regularly utilizes breakthrough treatment strategies that are unavailable anywhere else. Moffitt is well-known for its cutting-edge research, as well as designing targeted cancer treatment plans that improve patient outcomes and quality of life, reduce side effects and prevent disease recurrence.