Beating bowel cancer together

Advanced bowel cancer

Advanced bowel (colorectal) cancer is cancer of the colon or rectum that has spread to other parts of the body. You may hear this being called secondary or metastatic cancer.

Bowel cancer most commonly spreads to the liver or lungs but it can also spread to other parts of the body. Treatment is usually palliative, which means it relieves symptoms but cannot cure the cancer. Palliative treatments, such as chemotherapy and biological therapies, can keep the cancer under control, improve your quality of life and help you live longer.

In some people whose cancer has only spread to either the liver or lungs, surgery and chemotherapy can keep the cancer under control for a long time and could possibly cure it. 

If you have been diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer, your cancer specialist may offer you biomarker testing to help find out which treatments would work best for you.

Your healthcare team will talk to you about which treatments you can have and how they may help you.

Find out more about the work we're doing to improve treatment and care for people with advanced bowel cancer.

Updated August 2018. Due for review March 2019.

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