Colorectal Cancer Treated by Mercy’s Cancer Doctors
Colon cancer and rectal cancer, known as colorectal cancer, can be successfully treated if detected early. Mercy's team of specialists including gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons, surgical oncologists and medical oncologists, are regarded experts in the treatment of colorectal cancers. Patients from across the Baltimore Metropolitan area turn to our doctors for regular colon cancer screenings in order to detect and treat colon cancer early.
About Colorectal Cancer
Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine, also known as the colon. Rectal cancer is cancer in the last few inches of the colon. Colon cancer and rectal cancer together are known as colorectal cancer.
Colon cancer and rectal cancer typically develop slowly over several years. Most colorectal cancers begin as a polyp, which is an abnormal growth of cells in the colon. Removing colon polyps early may prevent them from becoming cancer. It is important to have a regular colon cancer screening to detect and remove colon polyps before they become cancerous. Colorectal cancer is highly treatable and often a curable cancer when localized.
Who is at risk for Colorectal Cancer?
Men and women are almost equally affected by colon cancer. African Americans and Hispanics are at higher risk for colon cancer and are more likely to be diagnosed in the more advanced stages of cancer.
Hereditary colorectal cancer is passed between generations through an inherited mutated gene that causes cancer to develop at an early age. Although the majority of colorectal cancer cases are not hereditary, a strong family history of colorectal cancer on one side of the family greatly increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
Colon and rectal cancer hardly ever have symptoms so it is important to get regular colon cancer screenings to detect any irregularities like colon polyps. If colon polyps are found your Mercy physician will remove them by performing a colonoscopy or laparoscopic surgery.
Colorectal cancer symptoms can be similar to those of other digestive diseases. These symptoms may include:
- Change in bowel habits
- Rectal bleeding
- Blood in stool
- A sense the bowel has not emptied completely
- Weight loss
Your physician will help you determine the best treatment option for your colon and rectal cancer depending on your diagnosis. Treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation as well as targeted drug therapy. Your doctor may include a combination of treatment options or one single treatment option. Clinical trials are also available at Mercy.
Colon polyps often are removed during a colonoscopy. However, if the polyps are too large to remove during a colonoscopy, they are removed through laparoscopic surgery. In advanced stages of cancer in which the cancer has moved through the colon wall, part of the colon may need to be removed. Colon cancer treatment options then may include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, or targeted drug therapy.