Bowel cancer is widespread because carcinogens that get in our body with food come into contact with the bowel the longest and are absorbed by the body during stagnant feces.
This cancer is subject to treatment, and if therapy is started in a timely manner, 80-90% of cases are completely cured successfully. However, if cancer has spread, the treatment regimen differs.
How is stage 4 bowel cancer different from other stages?
Stages 1 to 3 can be considered potentially curable. Stage 4 indicates the most advanced cancer: at this stage, cancer cells spread to distant organs, usually to the liver and lungs, or to lymph nodes far away from the original tumor.
The main criterion for diagnosing a patient with stage 4 bowel cancer is the presence of distant metastases. The primary tumor may be of any size, it may or may not grow through the entire wall of the intestine. The presence of cancer cells in the nearby (regional) lymph nodes is also an optional condition.
Stage 4 is treated palliatively. It should be noted that even in stage 4 prolongation of life is possible. Currently, there is a certain percentage of patients surviving 10 years from the detection of stage 4 bowel cancer.
Treatment options for bowel cancer stage 4
Stage 4 cancer is very difficult to treat. As a rule, radical treatment for bowel cancer stage 4 isn’t possible. Doctors use palliative measures for stage 4 cancer that help manage pain and other symptoms, improve the patient’s condition, and prolong their lives.
The most favorable, but, unfortunately, rare situation is when there are single metastases in stage 4 bowel cancer, which can be removed surgically. Sometimes with this diagnosis remission occurs. When performing a surgical intervention, the surgeon removes the part of the colon affected by the tumor, regional lymph nodes, and metastases. Adjuvant and neoadjuvant chemotherapy, intra-arterial administration of chemotherapy drugs are often prescribed for liver lesions.
In most cases, however, it is impossible to remove the metastases, because there are too many of them, and many are small in size. In this case, the alternative treatment methods include:
- Palliative surgery. The surgeon may remove the part of the intestine blocked by the tumor, or implant a stent that widens the lumen of the intestine. Colostomy can be indicated for some patients after surgery. If the tumor blocks a section of the small intestine, a bypass anastomosis may be applied.
- Chemoembolization and radiofrequency ablation can be used if the liver is affected by cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy is given to most patients with stage 4 bowel cancer. There are different combinations of chemotherapy that can be used in the therapy regimen.
- Targeted therapy is another type of drug treatment, which some patients with bowel cancer stage 4 benefit from.
- Immunotherapy is intended to block the molecules by which malignancy suppresses the immune system, and its use in the therapeutic regimen, in some cases, is reasonable.
- Painkillers. With the advanced stage of cancer, many patients are bothered by excruciating pain, so it is important to prescribe effective pain relief. Different types of drugs are used. If the milder ones don’t help, more powerful drugs, up to and including narcotic analgesics, are used.
- Radiation therapy helps to slow down tumor growth and relieve pain.
To make a treatment regimen suitable for people with different types of cancer, all decisions should be made taking into account such factors as:
- Concomitant chronic pathology
- The overall health of the patient
- Potential side effects of the treatment regimen
- Other medications the patient is already taking
How to arrange treatment for bowel cancer stage 4 abroad during a lockdown?
It’s not as hard as you might think. In fact, it’s quite easy with Booking Health. Now everything begins to aggravate again and new lockdown limitations are being implemented. However, it doesn’t take away the fact that it is still possible to go abroad for treatment, and that is where Booking Health steps in.
Booking Health will help you with your medical visa application, all the paperwork, and the technical aspects of going abroad for treatment. You’re not only going to save your time and energy, but also money, with the exclusive cost of treatment guarantee.