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Introduction to Colorectal Cancer
Learn about the causes, symptoms, risk factors, prevention, treatment, and management of colorectal cancer. By the end of this course, you will have a better understanding of colorectal cancer and how to prevent, detect, and manage it.
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Not Just A Gut Feeling: Understanding Colorectal Cancer
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What is the role of radiation therapy in Colorectal Cancer management?

Radiation therapy plays a significant role in the treatment of colorectal cancer. It involves the use of high-energy radiation to target and destroy cancer cells or inhibit their growth. Here’s an overview of the role of radiation therapy in colorectal cancer treatment.


Adjuvant Radiation Therapy. Adjuvant radiation therapy is given after surgery and aims to eliminate any remaining cancer cells in the surrounding tissues. It may be recommended in the following situations:


  • High-Risk Features: Adjuvant radiation therapy is often considered if the tumor had penetrated through the wall of the colon or rectum, if lymph nodes contain cancer cells, or if the tumor was not completely removed during surgery.


  • Preventing Local Recurrence: Radiation therapy can reduce the risk of cancer recurrence in the area where the tumor was located.


  • Combination with Chemotherapy: Adjuvant radiation therapy is sometimes combined with chemotherapy to enhance treatment effectiveness.


Neoadjuvant Radiation Therapy. Neoadjuvant radiation therapy is given before surgery and aims to shrink tumors, making them more manageable for surgical removal. It may be recommended in the following situations:


  • Locally Advanced Tumors: Neoadjuvant radiation therapy is often used for larger tumors that have invaded nearby structures or organs.


  • Enhanced Surgical Outcomes: By reducing tumor size, neoadjuvant radiation therapy can improve the chances of successful surgical removal and potentially preserve organ function.


Palliative Radiation Therapy. Palliative radiation therapy is used to alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with advanced colorectal cancer. It can help manage symptoms such as pain, bleeding, or obstruction caused by tumor growth.


  • Symptom Relief: Palliative radiation therapy targets specific areas where the cancer is causing discomfort or complications to provide relief.


  • Combination with other Treatments: Palliative radiation therapy may be used in combination with other treatments, such as chemotherapy or surgery, to manage symptoms more effectively.