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Rectal cancer chemotherapy, a treatment that uses powerful medications to destroy cancerous cells, can be provided in several different forms: as an injection, a pill or even an intravenous infusion. These medications travel through the patient’s bloodstream and target rapidly dividing cells; as a result, this treatment can be used for small, early-stage cancers that are limited to the rectum, as well as cancers that have spread to the lymph nodes or distant organs throughout the body. Depending on a patient’s needs, chemotherapy might also be combined with radiation therapy, surgery or other forms of treatment.

There are several different drugs that can be used for rectal cancer chemotherapy. These include:

  • 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • Capecitabine
  • Irinotecan
  • Leucovorin
  • Oxaliplatin

Sometimes, chemotherapy drugs are combined with other medications. This can be done to either increase the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drugs or to help reduce their side effects. For instance, a recent clinical trial was created to test the addition of Rosuvastatin, a medication otherwise used to treat high cholesterol, to a standard rectal cancer chemotherapy regimen with the goal of improving the response rate.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer our patients an expansive range of treatment options, from standard medications to novel drugs and drug combinations. Many patients choose the current “gold standard” form of chemotherapy; others elect to try promising new options offered through our clinical trials program. Regardless of the path a patient decides to take, Moffitt’s expert oncologists will provide a fully individualized treatment plan to reflect the unique specifics of the patient’s diagnosis. Everything about a chemotherapy plan, from the dosage and combination of medications to the delivery schedule and supportive care recommendations, can be tailored to enhance a patient’s outcome and quality of life.

No referral is required to receive rectal cancer chemotherapy at Moffitt, and we offer our chemotherapy services at all Moffitt locations. To request a visit, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.

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