Our Treatment Approach to Colorectal Cancer
City of Hope has one of the most renowned colorectal cancer programs in the United States, with a multidisciplinary team of medical experts across different fields including surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology and supportive care medicine. Together, they work collaboratively to plan and implement a treatment regimen that is individually tailored to the patient to improve survival chances, enhance outcomes and boost quality of life.


Surgery is often the primary treatment for colorectal cancer, and it can be curative for early stage patients and can also improve survival outcomes and reduce discomfort for later stage patients.
City of Hope’s surgeons specialize in minimally invasive and robotically-assisted surgical procedures for colorectal cancer. By using smaller incisions compared to an open procedure, patients experience less pain, recover faster, have shorter hospital stays and are less likely to have post-surgical complications.
The expertise of City of Hope’s surgeons also means that they can treat colorectal cancers that are considered inoperable elsewhere. This is done through advanced procedures that can navigate around sensitive areas (such as major blood vessels) and working with radiation and medical oncologists, who may be able to shrink the tumor to down to an operable size and shape with radiation and drug therapies.
Additionally, our surgeons also consider quality of life outcomes when planning their course of treatment, so that surgical side effects, such as the need for permanent colostomy, are rare.
Surgery may also be performed to alleviate symptoms associated with colorectal cancer, such as a tumor obstructing digestive flow.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation can be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies to treat colorectal cancer by killing cancer cells or preventing the tumor growing larger. It can be applied externally using one or more radioactive beams focused on the tumor or internally by placing small radioactive pellets into or next to the tumor (brachytherapy).
Radiation therapy can also improve quality of life by relieving pain and stopping bleeds.
In addition to standard radiation regimens, City of Hope also offers Helical TomoTherapy, an advance technology combining radiation delivery with advanced imaging. This allows the radiation beams to be “sculpted” to the tumor’s size and shape, resulting in more focused radiation on the cancer site while minimizing exposure to adjacent tissues and organs.

Drug Therapy

City of Hope uses a wide range of chemotherapy and targeted therapy drugs to treat localized and metastatic colorectal cancer. In addition to standard drug regimens, patients have access to newly developed drugs (or drug combinations) through our clinical trials program.
Cancer fighting drugs can also enhance the effectiveness of surgery or radiation therapy, by shrinking the tumor before the procedure and making it easier to remove (neoadjuvant therapy), or given after the procedure to minimize the chance of recurrence (adjuvant therapy.)
Chemotherapy may also be given alongside radiation therapy to enhance the cancer-fighting effectiveness of both (chemoradiation.)
As part of the treatment team, a medical oncologist will evaluate the patient’s cancer, health and other factors, so that the chemotherapy, if appropriate, can be tailored to the patient throughout the continuum of care.

Become a Patient

If you have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer or are looking for a second opinion consultation about your treatment, find out more about becoming a patient by calling 800-826-HOPE or filling out the Request a New Patient Appointment Online form.