Surgery/chemotherapy or chemotherapy/surgery for colon cancer

beaud Member Posts: 7
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
I was wondering why do some colon cancer patients have surgery and then chemotherapy, while others have chemotherapy and then surgery? Would you respond and let me know in which order you are and why.


  • Chrisswife
    Chrisswife Member Posts: 50
    Most colon cancer patients have surgery first to remove the tumor, the chemotherapy afterward. Most rectal cancer patients, on the other hand, have chemotherapy/radiation first, then surgery. Rectal cancer patients have a much higher chance of requiring ostomy surgery due to the tumor location - the rectum is located in the pelvis so it is difficult to get to, and the tumor may be located too near the sphincter muscle to save it - the sphincter is necessary for controlling bowel function.
    The standard course for rectal cancer is to get the tumor as small as possible with chemo/rads, then remove it surgically in order to try to spare the patient a permanent ostomy.
    The other difference between the 2 cancers is that colon cancer patients don't usually have radiation because of the risk of damaging surrounding organs, but rectal cancer patients typically get radiation.
    Hope that helps.
  • StacyGleaso
    StacyGleaso Member Posts: 1,233 Member
    Hi Ben & Audrey,

    I had 6 weeks chemo and radiation prior to my surgery in an attempt to shrink the tumor, making the surgery more successful in getting all of it. Then, since it spread to my liver, I had a kind of "clean up" chemo to rid my body of any mircoscopic cancer cells. That was for 4 months I think.

    Hope I helped,

  • 4mykids
    4mykids Member Posts: 33
    I had surgery first to remove tumor from colon, and now I am on chemo with focus on mets to my liver.
  • My husband Bert had surgery to remove two tumors back to back in the cecum colon first and is now on follow-up chemo therapy because one tumor had broken through the bowl wall and four nodes tested positive.