Low Rectal Cancer
Rectal Cancer Chemotherapy
Use of chemotherapy after surgery can increase the survival rate for patients with some stages of colon and rectal cancer. This is called adjuvant (additional) chemotherapy. It is given when there is no evidence of cancer but there is a chance that it might come back. Chemotherapy can also help shrink tumors and relieve symptoms of advanced cancer. This is called palliative chemotherapy.
Systemic chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs that are injected into a vein or given by mouth. These drugs enter the bloodstream and reach all areas of the body. This treatment is useful for cancers that have metastasized (spread) beyond the organ they started in. In regional chemotherapy, drugs are injected directly into an artery leading to a part of the body containing a tumor. This approach concentrates the dose of chemotherapy reaching the cancer cells. It reduces side effects by limiting the amount reaching the rest of the body. Hepatic artery infusion is an example of regional chemotherapy sometimes used for colon cancer that has spread to the liver.
Like radiation, chemotherapy has long term effects on bowel function. Studies have shown that patients who had chemotherapy and did not have radiation had more bowel movements per day (7 vs. 2), 41% more clustering of bowel movements and 59% more likely to be unable to defer defecation more than 15 minutes. Studies concluded that adjuvant postoperative chemo radiotherapy for rectal carcinoma has a major long-term detrimental effect on bowel function.
Chemotherapy A Detailed Guide: Colon and Rectum Cancer
Long-Term Effects of Chemo radiotherapy on Bowel Function A detailed medical report on relationship
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