Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation from X-rays or another source to kill cancer cells. It is a major part of the treatment for rectal cancers. It’s also sometimes used as a treatment for colon cancers. There are several reasons your doctor may recommend this therapy.
To shrink a tumor before surgery. That will make it easier to remove and will reduce the damage surgery might cause. When it’s used before surgery, it’s called a neoadjuvant therapy.
To kill any cancer cells left after surgery. Used after surgery, it’s called an adjuvant therapy.
To ease symptoms caused by tumors that have spread to other organs
Radiation therapy is not a substitute for surgery. Surgery is generally the main treatment for colorectal cancer, except in cases of advanced cancers which cannot be eliminated surgically.
© 2014 Main Line Health