St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center

Colorectal & Gastrointestinal (GI) Cancer

Chemotherapy and Radiation

At St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center, you are not just another patient. We understand that each patient is different and comes with his or her own unique needs and concerns. We tailor your chemotherapy or radiation cancer treatment with your needs in mind.

Chemotherapy is the use of powerful drugs to destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given orally or through an intravenous (IV) injection. Usually, chemotherapy is given on an outpatient basis. You have a session of chemotherapy, then a break for your body to recover, and then another treatment session. Chemotherapy may be used to destroy remaining cancer cells after surgery, to slow the tumor’s growth or to relieve certain symptoms of colorectal cancer.

Chemotherapy for Colorectal Cancer

You can receive the chemotherapy at our state-of-the-art Infusion Center, staffed by skilled and experienced oncology nurses and doctors. Because chemotherapy affects your entire body, there are often unpleasant side effects. At St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center, our team is concerned with managing your pain and other symptoms to make you as comfortable as possible.

You may receive chemotherapy at different points throughout your treatment:

  • Neoadjuvant chemotherapy is given prior to surgery or any other treatment. The goal is to shrink the tumor as much as possible, making it easier to destroy during subsequent treatments.
  • Adjuvant chemotherapy is given after surgery or other treatment to help destroy remaining cells and prevent the cancer from returning.
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be used in combination, especially for patients with rectal cancer.

Radiation Therapy for Colorectal Cancer

Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation beams to target and destroy cancer cells. Like with chemotherapy, you may receive the radiation therapy:

  • before surgery, to shrink the tumor as much as possible;
  • after surgery, to kill remaining cancer cells; or
  • at any point to relieve certain symptoms of colorectal cancer.

Radiation therapy also affects the entire body, often leading to unpleasant side effects. However, with our advanced radiation therapy technologies, doctors are able to precisely target the tumor, lessening your side effects.

Radiation therapy must be carefully planned. The goal is to target the tumor with extreme precision, so only the tumor is affected and not the healthy organs and tissues. Precise targeting also allows your doctors to use a higher dose of radiation.

What to Expect During Radiation therapy

  • You undergo a series of MRIs to precisely pinpoint the tumor.
  • Your radiation oncologist and surgeon work carefully to map the exact location of the tumor.
  • The radiation beam is sculpted to match the tumor as closely as possible, so the radiation hits only the tumor and spares the surrounding tissues.
  • You receive the radiation therapy.
  • You undergo follow-up MRI scans to determine whether you need another course of treatment.

Trilogy System to Treat Colorectal Cancer

St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center uses the Trilogy™ Stereotactic Image-Guided Radiotherapy (IGRT) System, which is the most advanced form of external-beam radiation therapy. The Trilogy system is able to deliver higher doses of radiation to a smaller area of your body over a shorter period of time.