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Making the Decision to Have Radiation Therapy for Colorectal Cancer

If you have colon cancer, your doctor may recommend radiation in the following cases:

  • Your doctor has removed a cancer that was attached to an organ or to the lining of your abdomen. In this case, the doctor can't be sure all the cancer cells were removed. So radiation would be used to kill cells that remain.

  • You have stage IV or recurrent cancer and are having symptoms such as pain. In this case, radiation is used to relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life.

For rectal cancer, radiation therapy is a common treatment. You might have it before, or after surgery. It may be used to shrink tumors to make surgery easier, or to help prevent cancer from coming back after surgery. It may also be used to help relieve symptoms from more advanced cancers.

To plan your entire treatment strategy, consult with a team of specialists. This might include a surgeon, radiation oncologist, and medical oncologist.