NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Rectal Cancer, Version 1.2017
Overview of cancer treatments
when talking about a cancer treatment for the whole
Chemotherapy received by HAI (
nfusion) differs. It is given through a port or pump
within your artery supplying blood to your liver. If a
pump is used, it is placed within the artery during
surgery. HAI may be a treatment option for rectal
cancer in the liver. NCCN experts advise that HAI
should only be done at treatment centers with much
experience in this method.
Chemotherapy is given in cycles of treatment days
followed by days of rest. The cycles vary in length
depending on which drugs are used. Common
cycles are 14 or 21 days long. Giving chemotherapy
in cycles gives your body a chance to recover
after receiving chemotherapy. If you will have
chemotherapy, ask your doctor how many cycles will
be given. Also ask how many days of treatment there
are within a cycle.
Side effects differ among people. Some people have
many side effects. Other people have few. Some
side effects can be very serious. Others can be
unpleasant but not serious. Most side effects appear
shortly after treatment starts and will stop after
treatment. However, other side effects are long-term
or may appear years later.
Side effects of chemotherapy depend on multiple
factors. These factors include the drug type,
amount taken, length of treatment, and the person.
In general, side effects are caused by the death
of fast-growing cells. These cells are found in the
hair follicles, gut, mouth, and blood. Thus, common
side effects of chemotherapy include low blood
cell counts, not feeling hungry, nausea, vomiting,
diarrhea, hair loss, and mouth sores.
Oxaliplatin causes a very unique side effect. It can
cause a short-lived and sometimes painful sensitivity
in areas exposed to cold. Examples of these areas
are your mouth when drinking cold liquids and
your fingers when holding a cold object. If more
oxaliplatin is used over time, loss of sensation and
tingling in fingers and toes can occur. It can take
months or years for these symptoms to resolve. After
long-term treatment, you may have a permanent
loss of sensation in your feet or fingers (sensory
Not all side effects of chemotherapy are listed here.
Please ask your treatment team for a complete list of
common and rare side effects. If a side effect bothers
you, tell your treatment team. There may be ways to
help you feel better. There are also ways to prevent
some side effects.
Supportive care doesn’t aim to treat cancer
but aims to improve quality of life. It is
also called palliative care. It can address
many needs. One example is treatment for
physical and emotional symptoms.
Supportive care can also help with treatment
decisions as you may have more than one
option. It can also help with coordination of
care between health providers. Talk with your
treatment team to plan the best supportive
care for you.