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Colon cancer forms in the tissues of the colon, which is the longest part of the large intestine. Rectal cancer forms in the tissues of the rectum, which is the last several inches of the large intestine closest to the anus.
The main types of treatment for colon and rectal cancer are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. Depending on the stage of the cancer, two or more of these types of treatment may be combined at the same time or used one after another.
Surgery is the most common treatment for all stages of colorectal cancer. Adjuvant chemotherapy is used after surgery to minimize chances of recurrence and has been shown to help people with stage III colon and rectal cancer live longer. Radiation therapy uses high energy rays or particles to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy can make radiation therapy more effective against some colon and rectal cancers. The proportion of patients receiving guideline-concordant adjuvant therapy increased steadily between 1987 and 2005. Potential disparities remain for some groups of patients.
Percent of individuals, aged 20 years and older, diagnosed with stage III colon cancer who received chemotherapy or diagnosed with stage II or stage III rectal cancer who received chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy.
Healthy People 2020 Target
- There are no Healthy People 2020 targets for cancer treatment, including colorectal cancer treatment.
Healthy People 2020 is a set of goals set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services.
SEER Patterns of Care/Quality of Care Studies, National Cancer Institute, 1987-2015.
|Overview Graph||Detailed Trend Graphs||Most Recent Estimates (2015)|
|Percent of patients||95% Confidence Interval|
|All Ages||70.3||66.4 - 74.0|
|Ages <65||86.9||82.2 - 90.6|
|Ages 65+||57.1||51.1 - 62.9|
Additional Information on Colorectal Cancer Treatment
For the public
- Colorectal Cancer. National Cancer Institute
- Colon Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)-Patient Version. National Cancer Institute.
- Rectal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)-Patient Version. National Cancer Institute.
- Treating Colorectal Cancer. American Cancer Society.
- Colon Cancer (NCCN Guidelines for Patients®). National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
- Rectal Cancer (NCCN Guidelines for Patients®). National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
For health professionals
- Colon Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)-Health Professional Version. National Cancer Institute.
- Rectal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)-Health Professional Version. National Cancer Institute.