Chemotherapy is the process of killing cancer cells with anti-cancer or cytotoxic medications. In the case of colon cancer, it is frequently used as a therapy.

When is colon cancer treated with chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy can be utilised at various stages of colon cancer treatment :

  • Chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant stage

Chemotherapy is occasionally combined with radiation and given before surgery. This is done to make it easier to remove the tumour during surgery by shrinking it.

  • Chemotherapy used as a preventative measure

Following surgery, the patient is given adjuvant chemotherapy. The purpose of this type of treatment is to eliminate any cancer cells that remain after surgery.

Chemotherapy is used to treat advanced cancer

Chemotherapy can be used to treat cancer that has spread to other organs, as well as to alleviate symptoms and decrease tumours. Palliative chemotherapy is what it's termed. Even if the patient will not be completely cured, it will be able to live longer and feel better.

Side effects

In the case of colon cancer, it is frequently used as a therapy. Chemotherapy has a variety of adverse effects that a person may encounter. Other cells, such as the bone marrow, the lining of the mouth, and the lining of the intestines, are also impacted, resulting in these side effects.

  • Hair loss is a common problem.
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Appetite loss.
  • Sores in the mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Because there are fewer white blood cells, there is a higher risk of infection.
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Fatigue as a result of a reduction in red blood cells

Some other side effects

  • Diarrhea : Diarrhea is a common side effect of all chemotherapy medicines, although it is known to be especially severe in the case of irinotecan. If a patient is taking chemotherapy medications that produce diarrhoea, the doctor would most likely prescribe another prescription to treat or control the illness.
  • Allergies or sensitivity: Skin rashes, breathing difficulties, chest tightness, back pain, lightheadedness, and even weakness can be caused by drugs like oxaliplatin.
  • Neuropathy : a tingling sensation in the hands and feet that is a common oxaliplatin side effect. It can also create intense heat or cold sensations in the person's throat or palms. This can also make swallowing or holding a cold glass painful.
  • Hand-foot syndrome : a typical adverse effect of medications like capecitabine and 5-FU. Starting with redness in the hands and feet, this side effect evolves to pain and sensitivity in the palms and soles. The skin may blister and peel as the condition worsens, resulting in painful sores.