What is chemotherapy for rectal cancer?

When chemotherapy is given

Chemotherapy is the use of anti-cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells.

Chemotherapy may be given:

  • After surgery, to reduce the risk of cancer coming back.
  • Before surgery, if you’re having cancer removed from the liver or lungs. This is to shrink the cancer and reduce the risk of it coming back.
  • As the main treatment for cancer that has spread to parts of the body such as the liver or lungs, to try to control it for as long as possible.

The drugs used

The drugs most commonly used to treat bowel cancer are:

Often, two or more chemotherapy drugs are given in combination. The three most commonly used combinations are:

Back to Chemotherapy explained

Your feelings

You may experience difficult feelings while having chemotherapy treatment. Talking these over can be helpful.

Where can you have chemotherapy?

You usually have chemotherapy in a chemotherapy day unit or clinic. If your treatment is more complex, you may need to stay in hospital.