Chemotherapy is the use of medicines to control
the cancer's growth or relieve symptoms. Often the medicines are given through a
needle in your vein. Your blood vessels carry the medicines through your body.
Sometimes the medicines are available as pills. And sometimes they are
given as a shot, or injection.
Several medicines are used to
colorectal cancer. There are also several medicines
available for treating side effects.
A combination of drugs often works better than a single
drug in treating colorectal cancer. The most commonly used drugs are:
Hair loss can be a common side effect with some types of
chemotherapy. But hair loss usually isn't a side effect of these drugs.
Treating the side effects
Your doctor may
prescribe medicines that can help relieve side effects of chemotherapy. These
side effects can include mouth sores, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Your
doctor may prescribe
medicines to control nausea and vomiting.
There also are things you can do at home to manage side
effects. See Home Treatment for more information.
What to think about
radiation may be combined to treat some types of
colorectal cancer. Radiation or chemotherapy given before or after surgery can
destroy microscopic areas of cancer to increase the chances of a cure.