Bowel Cancer Treatment in the UK

Introduction: What is Bowel Cancer?

Bowel cancer begins in the large intestine and may be called colon or rectal cancer, depending on where it begins. Bowel cancer starts when the cells lining the colon or rectum grow and multiply abnormally to form a tumour. This tumour can be benign or malignant (cancerous). Though the exact cause of bowel cancer is unknown, genetic and environmental factors may increase one’s risk of developing the condition.

Bowel cancer is common cancer in the UK and is usually diagnosed in people over 60. As with most cancer, early diagnosis improves the outcomes for bowel cancer as well. A few common symptoms of bowel cancer include 

  • Persistent blood in stools
  • Change in bowel movements
  • Constant pain in the lower abdomen

How is Bowel Cancer Treated?

Your bowel cancer treatment will depend upon the part of the bowel affected by cancer, its stage and extent of spread. The standard treatment options for bowel cancer are:

  • Surgery

Most early-stage bowel cancers are treated with surgery. Some patients with early-stage colon or rectal cancer may receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy before surgery to allow easy removal. Localised colon cancers treated with surgery have a five-year survival rate of around 90%. Surgery may also be used when the bowel cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes but not to other organs.

  • Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses powerful anticancer drugs to damage and destroys cancer cells that may have spread to other body parts. Chemotherapy drugs are either given orally or intravenously (IV). In bowel cancer treatment, chemotherapy may be given before surgery to shrink a tumour and facilitate easy surgical removal or after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells and prevent a recurrence.

Chemoradiation (chemotherapy with radiation therapy) may be used after surgery. In some patients, chemotherapy may make radiation more effective in treating colon cancer. (Radiation therapy is not commonly used for colon cancer treatment.)

  • Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays or protons to kill cancer cells. Radiation therapy is always used with other treatments like chemotherapy (called chemoradiation). 

In treating bowel cancer, radiation therapy may be used before surgery to shrink the tumour and improve the chances of removal, instead of surgery to stop the spread of cancer when surgery cannot be performed or after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells and prevent a recurrence.

Depending on the type of radiation treatment, you may need multiple weekly sessions for a few weeks. You may experience some side effects from your radiation treatment, such as fatigue, diarrhoea, nausea, frequent urge to pee, irritation or a burning sensation around the rectum and anus.

 This treatment uses medicines that target proteins, growth factors or other chemicals released by cancer cells. Since these drugs target only the cancer cells, side effects due to targeted therapies are fewer than those with chemotherapy.

Your doctor and multidisciplinary team will assess your bowel cancer and determine the most suitable treatment options. Discuss any queries or doubts about your treatment plan with your doctor.

How Can Klarity Oncology Help?

People diagnosed with cancer require personalised guidance and tailor-made treatment plans. At Klarity Oncology, we understand the urgency and importance of cancer care. From helping you find a private oncologist near you to providing priority appointments for second opinions, we are a one-stop care platform for your bowel cancer. Our case managers will help you make informed decisions, and our healthcare team will walk with you throughout your bowel cancer care journey.

Bowel Cancer Cost in the UK

The cost of bowel cancer in the UK is at-par with most European nations. Bowel cancer treatment cost depends upon several factors, including the treatments involved in your plan. Treating early-stage bowel cancer is cheaper than advanced cancers. Early diagnosis and

uncomplicated treatment with no recurrence make bowel cancer treatment affordable for some people.

How is Bowel Cancer Treatment Cost Calculated?

The cost of bowel cancer treatment is calculated based on many factors:

  • Stage, type and grade of cancer
  • Extent of spread
  • Treatments and procedures involved in your treatment plan
  • Travel to hospitals and cancer care centres
  • Doctor visit charges
  • Diagnosis tests 
  • Additional treatments that may be needed during treatment
  • Prevention and recurrence treatment

Your doctor will give you an estimate of your bowel cancer treatment cost before beginning treatment. However, keeping some additional funds to cover unexpected treatment costs is essential. Speak to your insurance provider to understand what treatments are included in your plan.

Talk to Us

Making an informed decision is vital for your bowel cancer treatment. Need help with a second opinion or getting an appointment with experienced oncologists in the UK? Connect with us today!

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