There are three main types of treatment for bowel cancer

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Specialist radiotherapy

Depending on the stage and location of your cancer, you may be recommended either one or a combination of these treatments.

For the majority of people with stage 1 and stage 2 colorectal cancer the treatment is generally surgery on its own. With stage 3 the cancer has spread to local lymph nodes and there is risk that the cancer will return even if all visible evidence of the cancer has been removed by surgery. In this situation chemotherapy is likely to be used to lower the risk of the cancer returning.

Treatment options at this stage can involve a single type of chemotherapy drug as a pill or by injection into a vein but sometimes a combination of chemotherapy drugs is recommended. Chemotherapy is typically given for a total of 6 months.

If colorectal cancer has spread to other parts of the body (stage 3 and 4) chemotherapy is the best treatment and although not curative can extend life expectancy and quality of life.