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Treatments

  • Surgery

    Due to advances in radiation and chemotherapy, surgery is rarely used anymore in anal cancer. In many cases, Sylvester specialists can use radiation or chemotherapy or a combination to cure or control the cancer without disrupting bowel function.

    Sylvester surgeons can now safely remove many cancers not directly involving the sphincter muscle or pelvic floor, while preserving normal bowel function. Only a limited number of patients will still require colostomies; those who do will be supported by experienced and knowledgeable enterostomal therapists to teach them how to manage them.

  • Radiation Therapy

    Sylvester’s radiation oncologists use the most advanced technology to deliver radiation externally or internally to colorectal tumors.

    • External beam radiation: This radiation therapy approach is delivered from outside the body using specialized equipment. Most colorectal cancer treatment at Sylvester uses this technique. We use RapidArc® to provide intensity modulated external radiation therapy (IMRT), which shortens treatment times to one-half to one-eighth that of conventional radiation therapy. This results in more precise tumor targeting and reduces damage to nearby healthy tissue.
    • Internal radiation: Called brachytherapy, this type of radiation is used for smaller primary tumors, with clean, healthy skin around them and no evidence of cancer in the lymph nodes. Brachytherapy involves temporarily implanting a radiation applicator into the tumor site and delivering doses of radiation locally, at certain intervals. It allows the radiation oncologist to keep the radiation dose away from sensitive organs.
  • Chemotherapy (Systemic Medical Therapy)

    Chemotherapy is usually a combination of cancer-fighting medicines and can be administered intravenously or by a pill. If you require intravenous (infusion) chemotherapy, you can receive it at the Comprehensive Treatment Unit (CTU) at Sylvester's main location in Miami. It's a 12,000-square-foot unit that includes 33 recliners and 11 private rooms. If you prefer, you can also have your infusion treatments at the Kendall, Hollywood, Coral Springs, Coral Gables, or Deerfield Beach locations.

    • Before surgery (Neoadjuvant): Sometimes, a rectal tumor is too large or marginal to avoid damaging the sphincter muscle with surgery. In cases like these, neoadjuvant chemotherapy with or without radiation are given before surgery to shrink the tumor so it's easier to remove.
    • After surgery (Adjuvant): Most chemotherapy is provided after surgery. Sometimes, chemotherpy includes combinations of medicines that have been shown to work well together for your type of cancer. Your specialist may also recommend using a standard therapy coupled with a clinical trial drug.

       

    • HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemoperfusion): Sylvester is the first center in South Florida to deliver heated chemotherapy to cancers that have spread through the abdominal cavity. The one-time treatment is done in the operating room, right after the cancer is removed. HIPEC allows a higher concentration of chemotherapy without the systemic side effects, increasing disease-free survival much better than systemic chemotherapy. For some people, HIPEC can offer a total cure.

       

  • Targeted Therapy

    Targeted therapies are designed to attack the molecular alterations that make the cancer cell grow and spread. They have the potential to be more effective and with fewer side effects than chemotherapy. Some of these medicines are given along with chemotherapy medicines, while others are used by themselves.

     

  • Clinical Trials

    As a colorectal cancer patient at Sylvester, you have access to more novel or advanced treatments than anywhere else in South Florida.  Your doctor will recommend any clinical trials that are right for you.