If bowel cancer returns
For some people, bowel cancer does come back after treatment, which is known as a recurrence. It is important to have regular check-ups so that if cancer does come back, it can be found early.
If the recurrence is confined to the bowel and nearby lymph nodes, it may be possible to remove it with surgery. Removing the tumour can help relieve symptoms and, in some cases, may stop the cancer.
If bowel cancer has spread beyond the bowel (advanced or metastatic bowel cancer), you may be offered treatment, such as surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or radiation therapy, to remove the cancer or help control its growth. If your bowel becomes blocked, you will need urgent treatment.
A/Prof David A Clark, Colorectal Surgeon, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and The University of Queensland, QLD, and The University of Sydney, NSW; A/Prof Siddhartha Baxi, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director, GenesisCare Gold Coast, QLD; Dr Hooi Ee, Specialist Gastroenterologist and Head, Department of Gastroenterology, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Annie Harvey, Consumer; A/Prof Louise Nott, Medical Oncologist, Icon Cancer Centre, Hobart, TAS; Caley Schnaid, Accredited Practising Dietitian, GenesisCare, St Leonards and Frenchs Forest, NSW; Chris Sibthorpe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland; Dr Alina Stoita, Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, NSW; Catherine Trevaskis, Gastrointestinal Cancer Specialist Nurse, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Richard Vallance, Consumer.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a qualified health professional or someone who has experienced cancer, or find a support group or forum
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment