Treatment Options

Treatment Options

At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), your cancer care team has access to all the standard treatment options and possibly new therapies available only in clinical studies. This is one advantage of seeking treatment at SCCA.

Making Treatment Choices Together

Your team will recommend a treatment plan based mainly on the stage, size, and location of your cancer. The stage depends on whether or not your cancer has spread from its original site and how far it has spread. Your treatment also depends on your overall health and the ways different treatments can be combined.

Ask your team to explain which treatment options make the most sense for you, why, and what to expect so that you and your team can choose the best course of treatment together. 

Standard Treatment

Most people with colon cancer begin treatment by having surgery to remove their cancer. After surgery, they typically have chemotherapy to reduce the risk of their cancer coming back (recurring). Usually radiation therapy isn’t used for colon cancer.

If colon cancer has spread (metastasized) to another area of the body, then doctors usually do not do surgery because usually it’s not possible to remove all the cancer. Instead, they use chemotherapy and targeted biological therapies to control the disease. Surgery may be done, if there’s a chance of removing all the cancer. Radiation therapy may be helpful for treating specific spots where cancer has spread.

There are many similarities between colon cancer and rectal cancer, but there are some differences in the ways they are usually treated. For information about rectal cancer, visit the section on rectal cancer treatment options.


Most people with colon cancer have surgery. Sometimes this surgery can be done laparoscopically.


Chemotherapy may be given after surgery or as a main treatment for people who aren’t having surgery.

Targeted Therapy

Biological therapies that target cancer cells may be used against metastatic colorectal cancer.

Follow-Up After Treatment

Your healthcare team will monitor your condition and help you recover and stay healthy after your treatment.