Doctors may need to use a variety of tests to detect and locate metastatic colorectal cancer. Once they have established the presence of cancer and the affected colon cancer metastasis sites, they can provide a treatment plan.
A colonoscopy is the primary test to diagnose colorectal cancer. If the doctor has a suspicion that the patient has the disease, they may take a tissue sample during the colonoscopy procedure. The biopsy tissue sample is then tested in a lab and its unique characteristics are examined to help guide treatment. Finally, doctors use imaging tests to determine the colon cancer metastasis sites.
These imaging procedures may be used by doctors:
- CT. A cross-sectional image of a person’s body is produced by a CT or CAT scan using X-rays. When cancer has spread to neighboring lymph nodes or other organs, it can be detected.
- Ultrasound. To determine whether cancer has migrated to the liver, doctors may do an ultrasound exam. Additionally, a biopsy can be performed under ultrasound supervision.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In order to determine whether lymph nodes are implicated or whether cancer has migrated to the pelvis or abdomen, doctors may use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
- X-ray. Chest X-rays are used by doctors to determine whether colon cancer has spread to the lungs. Any bone metastases can also be seen.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan. Medical professionals may use these scans to check for cancer in the brain as well as other parts of the body. These scans can also aid in the planning of any surgery and medical care.
The location of the tumors and the extent of the cancer’s spread may affect the best course of treatment for a patient with metastatic colorectal cancer. In addition, doctors take into account the patient’s age, overall health, and any potential adverse effects of any treatment.
Patients with colorectal cancer may experiment with several therapies either in tandem or sequentially. The following techniques are employed by doctors to treat colorectal cancer:
- Chemotherapy. If surgery is not an option, doctors may turn to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs are strong drugs that either kill cancer cells or stop them from proliferating.
- Hepatic artery infusion chemotherapy (HAIC). Regional chemotherapy known as hepatic artery infusion chemotherapy (HAIC) may be used if colorectal cancer has progressed to the liver, one of the common colon cancer metastasis sites. It entails injecting chemotherapy medications into the hepatic artery of the liver.
- Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is not frequently used by doctors to treat colon cancer. However, they might employ it before surgery to reduce tumors, to relieve a patient’s symptoms, or in conjunction with chemotherapy to help manage cancer.
- Surgery. Surgery might not be an option if cancer has spread significantly. However, if a person has one or two minor liver lesions, surgery can be an option.
- Other systemic therapies. In addition to immunotherapy and biologic treatment, physicians may also prescribe other targeted treatments.
A doctor may also recommend clinical trials, which are research studies that look into new therapies that might be helpful for someone with metastatic colorectal cancer. Although treatment options for people with this type of cancer have significantly improved over the past few decades, it’s important to remember that results can still differ greatly among those with advanced disease.
Preparation and getting assistance
Find out from your doctor how the size and location of your tumor affect your case. If you want to learn more about colon cancer and how it affects your body once it spreads to the common colon cancer metastasis sites, consult your doctor.
Learn more about Colorectal Cancer here.