The prime goal of the surgery is to try and get rid of allthe cancer cells in the bowel. However, this depends on the stage and the sizeof the cancer, as well as the patient’s strength and ability to make it throughsuch a surgery. And while some people will have their cancer completely removedwith a high probability that it will never return this won’t be possible forothers. Sometimes the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, suggesting that someof the cancer cells are bound to end up in another part of the body. The surgeon will not be able to determine this until he starts operating. In case this happens, there are follow up treatments which can try to prevent this fromhappening. But if the cancer has in fact spread to other parts of the body,such as liver or lungs, it is not very likely that it will ever be completelycured.
For this kind of patient, the goal is to keep the disease under controlfor as long as possible and enable them to lead a somewhat normal life.This is achieved through chemotherapy or radiotherapy, since there is no need for this person to undergo such a major, complicated procedure, unless,of course, the bowel cancer is causing some problems which will best be solvedwith removing as much of it as possible.
Radiotherapy is not likely to be used to treat the cancer ofthe large bowel. It is mostly considered as treatment before and after thesurgery for rectal cancer. It is sometimes used in combination withchemotherapy, whether it is to decrease the size of the tumor before thesurgery or because a major surgery may not be required in certain cases afterall.
Chemotherapy is most commonly used to take care of thecancer cells which are still lingering after the surgery. This happens when thecancer has spread to the lymph nodes or some other nearby tissue.
The final thing that is important to remember is that, evenif the cancer has been completely removed it is vital to have regular check-ups.At first, they are as frequent as every couple of months but if everything isin order they become rarer.