• Mayo Clinic Minute: When colon cancer spreads to the liver

Colorectal cancer is a leading cancer among men and women around the world. Many colorectal cancers are likely to spread to other organs, with the most common site of metastases being the liver.

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Dr. Sean Cleary, a hepatobiliary and pancreas surgeon at Mayo Clinic explains what this means to patients.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (1:10) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.

"Up to 30% of patients with colon cancer will develop a spot in their liver of metastasis at some point in their fight against colon cancer," explains Dr. Cleary.

He says while the diagnosis is serious, recent advances in treatment have improved the outlook for patients.

"The best options are if we can combine chemotherapy and surgery to remove all of the metastasis from the liver. We can be quite aggressive with that. The liver is a wonderful organ in that it regenerates. So we can remove up to 70% ― almost 80% ― of someone's liver and still have that 20% to 30% that we leave behind to regenerate and regrow so that patients can continue on with their lives," says Dr. Cleary.

In these situations, applying individualized medicine is key to successful treatment.

"Not only in selecting the chemotherapy that's best for each patient, but also the surgery that will remove all of their liver tumors ― and really making sure that we have the right sequence and the right treatment together for each patient," says Dr. Cleary.


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