Surgery is the main treatment for colorectal cancer, but even after radical surgery, there is still a possibility of recurrence.
Therefore, after colon cancer surgery, patients are sometimes scheduled to receive adjuvant chemotherapy. Many patients may be confused by this and question why they need such complicated drug treatment after surgery.
Not everyone needs adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery. Appropriate adjuvant chemotherapy can reduce the risk of colon cancer recurrence and improve survival time after surgery. Let's unlock this special colon cancer treatment code and see Let's see what kind of treatment method adjuvant chemotherapy is.
What is adjuvant chemotherapy?
Generally speaking, chemotherapy is roughly divided into three methods. Preoperative chemotherapy is called neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and postoperative chemotherapy is called adjuvant chemotherapy. When the tumor has metastasized far away and cannot be cured by surgery, late palliative chemotherapy may be needed.
Our postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy for colorectal cancer mainly focuses on the period after the surgery. We hope to use drugs to eliminate those tiny lesions that cannot be completely removed by surgery and cannot be seen with the naked eye, thereby reducing the recurrence and metastasis of tumor cells. , thereby improving the cure rate of colon cancer.
Is adjuvant chemotherapy necessary?
First of all, we need to know that tumor cells are very naughty. Colorectal cancer cells are often not willing to just stay in the colorectum. A small number of cells on the tumor will actively shed into the intestine or other parts. These shed cells, cannot be guaranteed to be completely treated during the operation, so they become the basis for tumor recurrence and metastasis after surgery.
The purpose of adjuvant chemotherapy is to use systemic drug treatment to kill these fish that slip through the net and cannot be treated by surgery, making our treatment of colon cancer more thorough, reducing the possibility of the disease coming back, and allowing patients to have a longer survival period. and better quality of life.
However, adjuvant chemotherapy is not entirely beneficial and harmless. While the drugs used in adjuvant chemotherapy kill tumor cells, they also kill normal cells in our body. Therefore, chemotherapy often has severe side effects, and many patients find it intolerable.
[As for what side effects there are, why side jobs are different, and how to deal with side effects, the editor will introduce them one by one in subsequent articles, so I won't go into details here.]
Therefore, in clinical practice, we need to try to balance the benefits of adjuvant chemotherapy to patients and the side effects it brings. After doctors evaluate the patient's condition and physical condition, when they judge that its benefits outweigh the disadvantages, doctors ⚕️ often recommend that patients consider postoperative chemotherapy.
What situations require adjuvant chemotherapy?
Generally speaking, colon cancer patients whose surgical pathology report shows that they are stage I or II and who do not have some high-risk factors for recurrence (these high-risk factors include tumor pathology showing poor differentiation, vascular invasion, intestinal obstruction, etc.), Usually, adjuvant chemotherapy is not required, or only capecitabine, a chemotherapy drug, is taken orally after surgery.
However, stage II colon cancer has high-risk factors and stage III colon cancer is relatively dangerous and has a greater possibility of recurrence and metastasis. In this case, adjuvant chemotherapy is a good choice.
Is there stage IV? Stage IV is the late stage of metastasis. At this time, surgical resection is usually not considered. If surgery is required, it is also a more complicated clinical situation and requires comprehensive multidisciplinary consultation.