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Serious Medicine. Extraordinary Care.

Making the Decision to Have Chemotherapy for Colorectal Cancer

Your doctor may recommend chemotherapy to treat colorectal cancer in any of the following situations.

  • You have stage II colon cancer. Chemotherapy is sometimes used for stage II colon cancer after surgery, but it's unclear whether this is a helpful treatment. You should discuss this decision with your doctor and ask what the goal is.

  • You have stage III colon cancer. Chemotherapy is typically given after surgery.

  • You have stage IV colon cancer. In this case, chemotherapy may be used either by itself or along with surgery in selected cases.

  • You have stage II or III rectal cancer.

  • You have stage IV rectal cancer. In this case, chemotherapy may be used either by itself or along with surgery in selected cases.

  • You have colon or rectal cancer that has recurred (come back) after initial treatment.