Carolinas HealthCare System

Levine Cancer Institute offers the latest treatment options for those diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Completely removing the cancer is the main potentially curative treatment for colorectal cancer. The Institute’s experienced multidisciplinary team of gastrointestinal cancer specialists can review cases quickly.

Surgery is the most common treatment, and the Institute’s highly trained cancer surgeons use their years of experience to select an appropriate method of surgery, based on the tumor’s stage and location, as well as the patient’s condition and wishes. Surgery may be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Treatment options include:

  • Polypectomy: A colonoscope, a thin flexible tube with a tiny camera and a cutting device built in, is used to remove any suspicious or cancerous polyps.
  • Colectomy: Sometimes called a hemicolectomy, or partial colectomy, the cancerous portion of the colon is removed, along with a margin of healthy tissue on either side; then the colon is reattached. The Institute is a leader in performing this procedure with minimally invasive, laparoscopic techniques.
  • Resection and colostomy: When the colon cannot be reconnected, a hole is cut into the abdominal wall and a portion of the colon attached to allow waste to exit the body through the hole and into an external plastic bag called a colostomy. Sometimes, this is done temporarily, to allow the body to recover from a blockage caused by the cancer. The Institute employs certified wound and ostomy nurses to assist you with your colostomy needs.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-powered particles or waves to target tumors, shrinking and destroying cancer cells before surgery or as a main treatment if surgery is not an option. It may also be used to relieve cancer symptoms by shrinking a deposit or mass of tumor tissue.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy regimens use medications proven successful at treating specific types of cancer. This medication is intended to kill cancer cells to shrink tumors before surgery, or to lengthen survival time after surgery by killing cancer cells that remain after the operation.
  • Targeted therapy: Certain drugs seek and destroy specific types of cancer cells without affecting healthy cells; these targeted therapies act on either the blood vessels that supply nutrition to the cancer cells, or directly target the genes or factors that stimulate cancer cell growth.
  • Treatment for metastases: If cancer has spread to the liver, there may be options in addition to systemic chemotherapy. One is administration of localized radiation, sometimes as radioactive microspheres, radiofrequency or microwave ablation. Another is liver resection.

Clinical Trials

Sometimes standard treatments are not an option or have proven unsuccessful. In these cases, a clinical trial may be appropriate. Levine Cancer Institute patients have access to the latest and most innovative clinical trials available.