Chemotherapy for Colorectal Cancer

Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer. You may receive chemotherapy for colorectal cancer on its own or in combination with other treatments, such as radiation therapy or surgery. At Henry Ford Health, our medical oncologists select the best combination of cancer-fighting drugs for your needs.

Chemotherapy for colorectal cancer: the Henry Ford difference

At our colorectal cancer care program, you’ll find:

  • Personalized approach: Chemotherapy isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment. A multispecialty team carefully plans the dose, timing and combination of drugs that are right for you. Our goal is to minimize side effects and preserve your quality of life.
  • Clinical trials: We participate in clinical trials to investigate the newest chemotherapy drugs for colorectal cancer. When you choose Henry Ford for your care or a second opinion, you have access to treatments not widely available.
  • National accreditation: Henry Ford is one of only 69 hospitals in the nation recognized by the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC). NAPRC accreditation highlights our multidisciplinary approach and evidence-based methods for treating rectal cancer.

How we use chemotherapy for colon, rectal and anal cancer

Our medical oncologists use chemotherapy differently depending on the type and stage of cancer you have. We may recommend:

  • Chemotherapy for colon cancer: We typically treat colon cancer with surgery first, followed by chemotherapy. Chemotherapy after surgery, called adjuvant chemo, destroys remaining cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy for rectal cancer: A combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy  (chemoradiation) before surgery, called neoadjuvant chemo, is the most common treatment for rectal cancer. In some cases, we can design a chemotherapy plan that eliminates the need for radiation therapy or allows for a less invasive surgery.
  • Chemotherapy for anal cancer: Chemoradiation is the most common treatment for anal cancer. We may combine two or more chemotherapy drugs to achieve the best results.

Take the next step

Contact the colorectal cancer care team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167 or request an appointment online.

Chemotherapy for advanced and hard-to-treat colorectal cancer

At Henry Ford, we’re known for our ability to treat challenging colorectal cancer. You may have chemotherapy on its own. Or you may have chemo combined with targeted therapies and immunotherapies  if you have metastatic colorectal cancer that has spread to other areas of your body. While chemo doesn’t cure cancer, it can shrink tumors, ease discomfort and help you live longer.

We also select special cancer-fighting drugs for people with cancer linked to specific genetic changes (mutations). These changes can make cancer harder to treat because it often doesn’t respond to standard therapies. Our dedicated molecular tumor board meets regularly to review these challenging cases and make the right care plan.

HIPEC: Surgery and chemotherapy for colon cancer

We are one of only a few cancer centers in Michigan to offer hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC). HIPEC may be right for select patients with colon cancer that has spread to the peritoneum (lining of the abdominal cavity) or recurrent colon cancer (cancer that comes back after treatment). During surgery to remove tumors, we pump a strong dose of hot chemotherapy directly into your abdomen. This approach targets cancer more precisely without using systemic (whole-body) chemotherapy.

Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167.


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