The UCSF-John Muir Health Jean and Ken Hofmann Cancer Center at the Behring Pavilion is now open.  LEARN MORE >

Systemic Treatments

For rectal cancer patients, chemotherapy may be used with radiation treatment prior to surgery to reduce the size of the tumor. Some colorectal patients with a more advanced stage of cancer or a high risk of local recurrence may receive chemotherapy post-surgery.

We use the most innovative radiation techniques available to manage the cancer with reduced side effects.

As with all of our cancer treatment options, our goal is to administer the most effective and innovative chemotherapy agents, including the camptosar and oxaliplatin, while having the least impact on your life.

Patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who cannot undergo surgery may receive chemotherapy as their primary treatment. Through our active research program with regional and national affiliations, we can also provide patients with access to new chemotherapy treatments through clinical trials.

Neoadjuvant Therapy

In come cases of advanced rectal cancer, we administer six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatment prior to surgery in order to shrink the tumor, which generally allows the surgeon to preserve the anal-sphincter function and decrease the rate of cancer recurrence.

Liver Metastases Treatment

In some later stage colorectal cancer cases, the cancer spreads to the liver. Five years ago such an occurrence was considered incurable. Now John Muir Health can treat lever metastases with a combination of innovative techniques that may include:

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) – A minimally invasive technique that passes radiofrequency waves through a probe in order to heat and destroy the tumor.

Transarterial Chemo Embolization (TACE) – A chemotherapy treatment that applies the chemotherapy agents directly to the liver tumor via a catheter, minimizing the side effects of traditional chemotherapy.

It sometimes is necessary to surgically remove a portion of the liver as part of this treatment.

Learn about recovery from colorectal cancer