Many patients with colorectal cancer receive chemotherapy as part of their treatment plan. Chemotherapy works by destroying cells that multiply more rapidly than normal. This can help to shrink or eliminate colorectal tumors. However, chemotherapy is often paired with one or more other treatments, such as surgery or radiation therapy, to increase a patient’s chance of achieving remission.
Colorectal cancer chemotherapy is provided by a medical oncologist. After considering factors such as the patient’s age and the cell type of the tumor, a medical oncologist will decide:
- Which chemotherapy drugs to use (there are more than two dozen medications that can be used for the treatment of colorectal cancer, and many patients receive a custom combination of two or more medications)
- What doses of the drugs to use, and how long the chemotherapy regimen should last (most colorectal cancer chemotherapy cycles are two to four weeks in duration and repeated four to eight times)
- Whether chemotherapy should be given before surgery, after surgery, as the only form of treatment or in conjunction with other therapies (this decision is made as part of a collaborative discussion with a patient’s surgeons and radiation oncologists)
At Moffitt Cancer Center, our medical oncologists tailor each patient’s chemotherapy plan to meet his or her unique needs. And, by working hand in hand with a patient’s other oncologists, our medical oncologists are able to design a comprehensive plan that is not only intended to eliminate as many cancerous cells as possible, but also to give the patient the best possible quality of life during treatment. Because we understand the side effects that can occur during chemotherapy, we offer supportive therapies to help manage any pain, nausea, fatigue and other complications. For our patients’ convenience, all of our colorectal cancer treatment and supportive care options are provided in a single location.