Treatment for early bowel cancer

Treatment for early and locally advanced bowel cancer will depend on the type of bowel cancer you have. This is because colon cancer and rectal cancer are treated differently.

Your medical team will recommend treatment based on:

  • what will give you the best outcome
  • where the cancer is in the bowel
  • whether and how the cancer has spread
  • your general health
  • your preferences.

The treatment options you are offered will depend on the guidelines for best practice in treating bowel cancer. For some people, the best option may be to join a clinical trial.

Learn more about treatment options for advanced bowel cancer.

Learn more about:


Listen to our podcasts on Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis and Making Treatment Decisions


Treatment options by type of bowel cancer

Colon cancer

Rectal cancer

  • Surgery is the main treatment for early and locally advanced colon cancer.
  • If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, you may have chemotherapy after surgery. This is called adjuvant chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy is not used for early colon cancer.
  • Surgery is the main treatment for early rectal cancer.
  • If the cancer has spread beyond the rectal wall and/or into nearby lymph nodes (locally advanced cancer), before the surgery you will have either radiation therapy or chemotherapy combined with radiation therapy (chemoradiation). After the surgery you may have chemotherapy.

Preparing for treatment

Managing anaemia 

Many people with bowel cancer have anaemia or low iron levels. You may be given iron as tablets or intravenously to improve your iron levels and blood count before treatment begins.

Improve diet and nutrition 

People with bowel cancer often lose a lot of weight and may become malnourished. A dietitian can provide advice on ways to reduce the weight loss through changes to your diet or liquid nutritional supplements. This will help improve your strength and lead to better treatment outcomes.


Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on bowel cancer


Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in February 2019
View who reviewed this content
View our editorial policy

Support services

Coping with cancer?
Ask a health professional or someone who’s been there, or find a support group or forum

Work and cancer
Information for employees, employers and workplaces dealing with cancer

Cancer information

Making cancer treatment decisions
Decision-making steps, consent and second opinions

Deciding on specialist care
How to find and choose a surgeon, oncologist or other specialist

TOP BACK TO TOP