Colon Cancer Treatment

Cancer is complex — there is no routine colon cancer, nor is there a routine way to treat it.

The OSUCCC – James physicians are nationally and internationally renowned in research and patient care for their one particular cancer. Because of that expertise and understanding of cancer’s complexities and how it acts and reacts differently in each person, the very best outcomes — and the most effective means of treating cancer patients — come from a team approach.

At the OSUCCC – James, colon cancer patients have a team of experts that includes medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, colorectal surgeons, radiation oncologists, geneticists, nutritionists and more. Also on that team are colon cancer researchers who help sequence tumors to identify key molecules that fuel each patient’s cancer and who then develop drugs that target only those particular molecules. Many of our experts also help write the national clinical guidelines for treatments.

As one of only a few cancer centers in the country funded by the National Cancer Institute to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials, the OSUCCC – James offers patients access to more clinical trials than nearly any other cancer hospital in the country and to more of the latest, most targeted, most effective treatment options — many that are available nowhere else but at the OSUCCC – James.

There are several types of treatment for colon cancer. The OSUCCC – James team of subspecialists determine the best treatment for each patient based on his or her specific, individual colon cancer. Patients may receive one treatment or a combination of treatments.


Most colon cancers involve removing the cancer by a specially trained surgeon, but colon cancer surgeries at OSUCCC – James are performed by specialists, often using laparoscopic and robotic methods.

These advanced techniques require smaller incisions and can lead to faster recoveries for patients, which lead to better outcomes.


More advanced or larger tumors are removed by making an incision in the patient’s abdomen. The surgeon also removes nearby lymph nodes and a portion of tissue around the cancer to make sure no cancer cells remain.

Resection with Colostomy

In some resections, or colon cancer removals, the surgeon cannot sew the colon tissue back together and must instead create an opening to the outside of the patient’s body so that waste can pass into a special container. This is called a colostomy or ileostomy. Many colostomies are temporary, and the colon can be reconnected in the future.

Radiation Therapy

Some patients may receive radiation therapy after their colon cancer surgeries. Radiation therapy uses X-rays or other types of radiation to destroy cancer cells.

Ablation Therapy

Radiofrequency/microwave ablation, involves a surgeon inserting a probe with electrodes into the liver to destroy cancer cells that have spread from the colon or other primary organs. This can be done in conjunction with other liver surgery, as singular therapy done with cameras (laparoscopic), or sometimes without any surgery at all (percutaneous).


After colon cancer surgery, a patient may have chemotherapy to ensure that any remaining colon cancer cells are destroyed. Chemotherapy uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by destroying the cells or by stopping the cells from dividing.


When colon cancer cells that have spread to the liver are unable to be removed, radioactive beads can be injected into the vessels that supply the tumors. The physician guides a thin tube called a catheter through the artery near the cancer and injects a special material into the vessel. These beads then flow with the blood and get stuck in the tiny blood vessels in the wall of the tumor. Once in place, the radioactive material slowly penetrates the tumor, thus radiating them from the inside out.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapies are specific drugs that attack cancer cells without harming healthy surrounding cells. Targeted therapies for colon cancer include monoclonal antibodies, which identify and block certain substances in cells that support cancer cell growth. Angiogenesis inhibitors target and stop growth of new blood vessels to cancerous tumors.

Clinical Trials

For cancer patients, clinical trials mean hope. Hope for a cancer-free world and for better, more targeted ways to prevent, detect, treat and cure individual cancers. Patients can enter clinical trials before, during or after starting their cancer treatment.

The OSUCCC – James has more than 500 open clinical trials at any given time, with some of the world’s latest discoveries available to clinical trial patients right here in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, patients have access to more cancer clinical trials here than at nearly any other hospital in the region as well as access to some of the most advanced, targeted treatments and drugs available.

The OSUCCC – James is one of only a few U.S. cancer centers funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs. These trials go only to centers that demonstrate an exemplary capacity for research and clinical care, the expertise to deliver the latest in treatments and the infrastructure to interpret and track treatment results.

Additionally, Ohio State has nearly 300 cancer researchers dedicated to understanding what makes each patient’s cancer grow, move, metastasize or reoccur. Because of the OSUCCC – James’ NCI phase I and phase II approvals, these experts can move research discoveries into clinical trials and make them available to patients sooner.

If you’ve been diagnosed with colon cancer, would like a second opinion or would like to speak with a colon cancer specialist, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210

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