NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Colon Cancer, Version 1.2014
Overview of cancer treatments Ablation | Radiation therapy
cuts. Tools are inserted through the cuts to see and
remove the part of the colon with cancer.
To aid healing, you may have a colostomy, although
most patients do not need it. A colostomy connects a
part of the colon to the outside of the abdomen. Stool
can pass through the opening in your abdomen. If a
colostomy is done, it is just for a short period of time.
It is rare for a colostomy not to be removed.
A colectomy can take 1 to 4 hours to complete. You
may stay in the hospital for several days to recover.
After surgery, you will be told what you can and can’t
eat to prevent discomfort and help healing.
The surgery to remove lymph nodes is called a
lymphadenectomy. A lymphadenectomy should be
done during a colectomy. At least 12 nearby lymph
nodes should be removed and tested for cancer. All
abnormal-looking nodes should be removed, too.
The surgery to remove metastases is called a
metastasectomy. This surgery can sometimes be
done for stage IV colon cancer. The methods of
surgery for metastasectomy vary based on where the
cancer has spread.
Ablation destroys small tumors with little harm to
nearby tissue. It isn’t used often for colon cancer.
Doctors sometimes consider its use for metastatic
disease. Most often it is considered for colon cancer
that has spread to the liver or lung. Ablation is done
by an interventional radiologist or surgeon.
There is more than one way to “ablate” a tumor.
Cryoablation kills cancer cells by freezing them with
liquid nitrogen. Radiofrequency and microwave
ablation kills cancer cells with high-energy radio
waves. A probe placed into the tumor emits the
waves. The probe will be guided into place by
ultrasound, CT, or other imaging equipment and will
be removed when treatment is done.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that
uses high-energy rays. The rays damage DNA
cid). DNA is a chain of chemicals
in cells that contains genes. This either kills the
cancer cells or stops new cancer cells from being
Radiation therapy is not often used to treat colon
cancer. External radiation therapy uses a machine
outside the body to deliver radiation. Internal radiation
therapy places a radioactive object near or inside the