Colorectal Cancer

At City of Hope, a multidisciplinary team of nationally recognized experts in the research, diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal cancer provides outstanding medical care to patients with colon and rectal cancers. We are experts in treating patients with early to advanced colon and rectal cancers, including:
 
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Melanoma
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
 
City of Hope researchers and physicians have pioneered new methods of treating colon and rectal cancers. Our approach to treating colon and rectal cancers combines aggressive therapies, minimally invasive and robotic-assisted surgery, and state-of-the-art technologies with highly compassionate care to give patients the best possible outcomes. Treatment for colon and rectal cancers may involve:
 
  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy, including helical TomoTherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Chemoradiation
  • Heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC)
 
Through our clinical trials research program — among the most extensive in the nation — we can often provide patients with access to promising new anticancer drugs and technologies not available elsewhere.
 
About Colorectal Cancer
 
  • The colon and rectum are parts of the body’s gastrointestinal system, also called the digestive tract.  After food is digested in the stomach and nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine, the remaining material moves down into the lower large intestine (colon) where water and nutrients are absorbed.  The lower parts of the digestive tract include the rectum and anus, through which stool (solid waste) travels as it passes from the body.
  • Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) occurs when abnormal cells in the colon or rectum start to divide uncontrollably, forming a malignant (cancerous) tumor.
  • Cancer cells may invade the healthy tissues around them and spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body such as the liver and lung.  After treatment, some cancers may come back (recur).
 
Colorectal Risk Factors
 
Certain factors increase your risk of developing colon cancer. These include:
 
  • Age older than 50
  • Personal history of colorectal disorders:
    • Previous diagnosis of colorectal cancer
    • History of precancerous polyps
    • History of inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)
  • Family history of colorectal cancer, especially before age 60
  • Hereditary syndromes
    • HNPCC (hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer)
    • FAP (familial adenomatous polyposis)
  • Diabetes
  • Ethnicity
    • Eastern European Jewish heritage
    • African-American heritage
  • Lifestyle factors
    • High-fat diet from animal sources, especially red meats and processed meats
    • Lack of exercise
    • Obesity
    • Cigarette smoking
    • Heavy consumption of alcohol

Colorectal Symptoms

Possible signs of cancer of the colon and/or rectum include a change in bowel habits or blood in the stool. These and other symptoms may be caused by colon and/or rectum cancer. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:
 
  • A change in bowel habits
  • Blood (either bright red or very dark) in the stool
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, or cramps•Weight loss for no known reason
  • Feeling very tired
  • Vomiting