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Prevent recurrence of colon and rectal cancer: one week of radiation before surgery

Patients with certain kinds of colon or rectal cancer can help prevent recurrence.  A new study has found that patients with colon cancer at the end of the large intestine or the rectum who receive one week of radiation therapy before cancer surgery have a 50 percent reduction in chance that their cancer will return after 10 years.  The study has been presented at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).   The study could open up the presurgical short radiation course as a good opportunity in treating tumors located in the mesorectum or the end of the large intestine.

Cancer coming back to its original tumor site and surrounding area, called a local recurrence, is a major problem in the treatment of cancer patients. The mesorectum is the fatty tissue near the rectum that contains blood vessels and lymph nodes. When this cancer recurs, it is often in these lymph nodes.