Currently there are four chemotherapy drugs and three biologic agents approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States to treat colon and rectal cancer.
- 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) which can be modified with leucovorin
- Xeloda® (capecitabine), an oral pro-drug that acts like 5-FU in tumor tissue
- Camptosar® (irinotecan), now available as a generic
- Eloxatin® (oxaliplatin)
- Avastin® (bevacizumab)
- Erbitux® (cetuximab)
- Vectibix™ (panitumumab)
In addition, there are other drugs and biologic agents that are being tested in clinical trials.
Questions to ask your doctor before you begin treatment
- What are the names of the drugs you will be giving me?
- How often will I receive them? How long will each treatment take?
- How will I receive them — by mouth, IV injection, infusion?
- Is this the standard treatment for my diagnosis? If not, why are you recommendng it?
- Will I need a pump for a continuous infusion at home?
- Would it help to have a permanent port installed so that I could avoid unnecessary needle sticks?
- What side effects should I expect?
- Are there other uncommon side effects that might happen?
- What medicines will you give me to prevent or reduce side effects?
- When should I call you about a side effect or other symptoms?
- What number should I call and who will answer?