(iv) Radiotherapy-Related Questions


Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, is often used in conjunction with surgery and chemotherapy to treat cancers of the rectum and colon. The primary treatment for colorectal cancer is surgery. However, your doctor may also recommend radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy depending on the location and stage of the cancer. For some rectal cancers, radiation therapy is given with chemotherapy to make the tumor smaller so it can be removed more easily during surgery. Other times, radiation is given at surgery to keep the cancer from returning.

Radiation therapy is the careful use of radiation to treat cancer safely and effectively. Cancer doctors called radiation oncologists use radiation therapy to try to cure cancer, control cancer growth or relieve symptoms, such as pain. Radiation therapy works within cancer cells by damaging their ability to multiply. When these cells die, the body naturally eliminates them. Healthy cells are also affected by radiation, but they can repair themselves in ways cancer cells cannot.

The most commonly used type of radiation therapy is External Beam Radiation Therapy which involves a series of daily outpatient treatments to accurately deliver radiation to the area requiring treatment. The radiation beam usually comes from a machine called linear accelerator.

To assist you in the process of gathering information on radiotherapy, a list of questions has been provided for you to ask your radiation oncologist should you be a candidate for radiotherapy.

Click to print questions

Questions To Ask Before Radiotherapy

Click to print questions

Questions to Ask During Radiotherapy

Click to print questions

Questions to Ask After Radiotherapy Ends

Radiation Therapy for Liver Metastases Originating From Colorectal Cancer

Colon and rectal cancers sometimes spread to the liver. Liver metastases can sometimes be removed by surgery. When surgery is not possible, however, radiation therapy may be an option. A specialized external beam radiation treatment called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) can accurately target some liver tumors. Another treatment option is selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT), an injection of radioactive particles into the blood vessels of the liver. Your radiation oncologist can discuss with you which approaches are best in your case.