Colon Cancer Treatment Options

Our team uses a multidisciplinary standard of care and treatment for patients with colon cancer. Colon cancer is more treatable today thanks to the most advanced surgical techniques, chemotherapies and targeted therapies. Our center is equipped with the latest tools, research and expertise. We treat a high volume of colon cancer patients, and our surgeons perform nearly 200 colon cancer surgeries each year. All colon surgical operations are available at each of our locations, including the full range of minimally invasive (laparoscopic or robotic) surgeries.

With the results of your diagnostic tests and assigned cancer stage, our specialists from both Dana-Farber and Brigham and Women’s — including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgical oncologists — will work closely together to develop a unique treatment plan that works best for your colon cancer. We will ensure coordinated care, carefully monitoring and treating your cancer as well as helping to provide relief for your symptoms. Your care team will work together to create a personalized treatment plan to achieve the best possible outcomes for your cancer.

We want you to feel like you are an active participant in your care. Please talk to your care team about your treatment goals. Learn treatment-related questions to ask during your healthcare appointments. Our team works at the Dana-Farber and Brigham campuses in Boston, as well as locations in the surrounding community, and your appointments may be at any of these locations.

Treatment options and the length of treatment vary from patient to patient. Treatment commonly involves surgery, with or without chemotherapy and/or radiation. Radiation is used less often to treat colon cancer. A patient with Stage I, II or III colon cancer will likely receive surgery as the first step of their treatment sequence while a patient with Stage IV colon cancer will commonly be referred to a medical oncologist as their first step for treatment. Some patients with Stage II colon cancer may benefit from chemotherapy post-surgery while all patients with Stage III colon cancer require chemotherapy post-surgery. Clinical trials of a new chemotherapy or targeted therapy may also be advised for patients with Stage III or IV colon cancer.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

If you are not eligible for surgery, our team will work with you on non-surgical treatment options, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and clinical trials, in addition to treatments for any symptoms you may have. Your care team will work to control the spread of your cancer and manage your symptoms. Additional non-surgical treatment options include targeted therapies, radiofrequency ablation (using a special probe with small electrodes to kill cancer cells) and fulguration (using a controlled electric current to burn away cancer cells. We also offer immunotherapy to genetically responsive patients. Learn more about some of these non-surgical treatment options.

Surgical Treatment Options

Surgery provides the best chance at curing colon cancer, and most patients with Stage 0–IV colon cancer are immediately eligible for surgery upon initial diagnosis.

Our surgical oncologists offer extensive expertise in the most advanced, minimally invasive procedures for colon cancer. They use evidence-based guidelines to minimize your hospital stay, recovery time and complications while improving outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Patients receiving colon surgery from high-volume surgeons like ours at high-volume hospitals like the Brigham have higher success rates and fewer complications. Our surgeons’ success rates are among the best in the country.

Learn more about the different types of surgery for colon cancer and what to expect before and after surgery.

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