Metastatic Cancer: If Your Cancer has Spread
Roswell Park’s colorectal oncologists are experienced experts with advanced and complex cases. A greater percentage of our colorectal patients — 66 percent — have Stage III or Stage IV disease at diagnosis, compared to the national average of 55 percent. Chemotherapy will likely play a role in the treatment plan for later stage colorectal cancers, in addition to other treatment options directed at the metastatic tumors.
About 40 out of 100 people with colon cancer will develop cancer in distant sites at some point, called metastases. Colorectal cancer most commonly spreads to the liver, lung or abdominal cavity. At the time of diagnosis, about 20 percent of all colorectal cancer patients already have metastases, most often in the liver. Our colorectal cancer team sees an even greater number of patients with liver metastases at diagnosis, about 40 percent, reflecting our expertise and capability for treating advanced cases.
Patients with liver metastases can still be cured. Successful liver surgery demands specialized skills, by surgeons with advanced training and focus in liver surgery, and experienced support teams in anesthesia and interventional radiology. Our surgical teams have this advanced training and expertise." - Boris Kuvshinoff, MD, MBA, FACS
Roswell Park offers many advanced treatments for metastatic colorectal cancer, including:
- Laparoscopic or open liver surgery: Surgery to remove the liver lesions or tumors, leaving enough healthy liver tissue to regenerate.
- Portal vein embolization prior to liver surgery: The main vein associated with the liver tumor is blocked (embolized) which causes the healthy part of the liver to grow, to allow for a safer liver surgery to remove the tumors.
- Radiofrequency (RFA) and microwave ablation: For metastases in the liver or lung. A small probe inserted into the tumor springs open like an umbrella, and emits radio waves or microwaves that heat the tissue, killing cancer cells. These are minimally invasive techniques, frequently performed as an outpatient procedure.
- Nanoknife irreversible electroporation (IRE): This newest ablation technology sends high-voltage electricity into the tumor, without injuring critical nearby blood vessels, specifically killing tumor cells.
- Selective internal radiation therapy (SIRT): For inoperable liver metastases, this treatment places tiny radioactive spheres or beads (using the isotope Yttrium-90) into the artery that supplies blood to the liver tumor. The beads both block blood flow to the tumors, and deliver radiation directly into them.
- Cytoreductive Surgery /Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemoperfusion (CS/HIPEC): This treatment for abdominal metastases begins with surgery to remove visible tumor nodules. Heated chemotherapy is then circulated throughout the abdomen as a second part of the surgery, used to kills any remaining microscopic tumor cells.