You are here: Home Colorectal Cancer Colorectal ... Colon Cancer: ... Standard Treatment
Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

Standard Treatment

Standard treatment for Stage II colon cancer which is not high risk includes each of the following:

  • Surgery (also known as resection). For information about surgery for Stage II colon cancer which is not high riskclick here.
  • Chemotherapy such as:

Complementary/Integrative Treatments: Complementary or integrative therapies be of great use during treatment. These therapies include acupuncture, massage, meditation and relaxation techniques as well as other treatments.  

  • Complementary/integrative treatments can help reduce symptoms or side effects, reduce stress and feelings of sadness, improve your mental outlook, improve your quality of life and help to relax you.
  • These treatments are not meant to take the place of traditional treatment but instead are meant in this context to complement and integrate with traditional treatment. There is no scientific proof that any complementary treatment will cure colorectal cancer. It is possible they could negatively affect traditional treatment or cause serious side effects. It is important to tell your doctor about any complementary therapies you use and/or are considering. (For more information, click here.)

If existing therapies are not adequate discuss with your physicians the availability of a clinical trial for your cancer.  Clinical trials are studies performed with humans to test new drugs or combinations of drugs, new approaches to surgery or radiotherapy or procedures to improve the diagnosis of disease and the quality of life of the patient. A clinical trial may offer you the opportunity to receive a treatment that is not yet available for the general public. (For a clinical trials matching service, click here offsite link). 

NOTE: If you have to choose between treatments, consider getting a second opinion from an NCI designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. offsite link  (For practical tips about second opinions, click here.)  Second opinions are usually covered by health insurance. They are not expensive if not covered.  Alternatively, if you are looking for things to think about to help make a decision, see:


To Help Decide Which Treatment Is Best For You

Find out how much time you have to make a decision.  

  • Whatever your situation, ask the doctor who diagnosed you how long you have to make a treatment decision. 
  • Take as much time as you need within that time frame before making a decision.
  • If you can't make a decision that quickly, let the doctor know to find out what the consequences would be of delaying a decision. Consider getting a second opinion if the time frame is so short that you feel you're making a decision before you have all the facts you need. Second opinions are generally covered by health  insurance. To learn about second opinions, click here.

Gather all the information you reasonably can:

If the doctor doesn't have time to answer all your questions during an appointment, ask when you can ask your remaining questions. For example, on what day and at what time should you call? Or, when can you see the doctor again? NOTE: When discussing continence, ask the doctor for his or her definition. (For example, some doctors consider a person  to be continent if he or she wears no pad or if he or she wears a pad that is dry.)

In addition, consider the following resources to help make a treatment decision:

  • National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) publishes the gold standard treatment guidelines for colorectal cancer.  Currently, only a guide for professionals is available. There is currently no patient friendly guide. You can access NCCN guidelines for free at: offsite link
  • Colon Cancer Alliance provides a Colorectal Cancer Profiler Tool to help make treatment decisions.  Click here offsite link.
  • Independent services are available which will research all treatments available for your particular situation (including cutting edge treatments only available through controlled studies known as clinical trials).  Some of the services will even offer their opinion about which treatment is best for you based on your medical condition, medical history and your individual priorities.  For a list of services, click here.

 Survivorship A to Z provides an evaluator to help you compare treatments to decide which one is best for you if necessary. Click here.

Keep in mind that cutting edge treatments are available through clinical trials. Clinical trials are carefully controlled research studies that are done with patients who volunteer for them. At least raise the question with your oncologist about treatments available through clinical trials. Some studies are only open to patients who are "treatment naive" - people who have not yet had therapy for colorectal cancer. To learn about clinical trials, click here.

Get a second opinion. Doctors who specialize in colorectal cancer are used to patients requesting second or even third opinions and will provide the information and copies of tests you need.

For information about a second opinion, including how to get one on a timely basis, from whom, what to do if there are conflicting opinions, and how to pay for them, click here.  

Talk with your partner before making a final decision – if for no other reason because any treatment may lead to some degree of diarrhea and possibly a temporary or permanent ostomy. (Yes, there are methods to dealing with these situations). See “To Learn More.”