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Colorectal Cancer

One of the most common types of cancer is also one of the easiest to prevent and detect. At the Baystate Regional Cancer Program, we are dedicated to helping you detect colorectal cancers early, and providing the latest treatment options to ensure your complete recovery.

Colorectal cancers include those found in the:

  • Anus
  • Colon
  • Rectum

Colonoscopy can help to prevent colon cancer. Colorectal cancer may form due to polyposis syndromes, in which a high number of potentially cancerous polyps (growths) develop. During a colonoscopy, the gastroenterologist can remove polyps before they become cancerous.

Diagnosis

Colonoscopy Screening

Gastroenterologists perform colonoscopy screenings to help prevent and diagnose colorectal cancer in at-risk patients.

As you age, your likelihood of developing colorectal cancer increases. Colonoscopy is recommended if you are age 50 or older, or earlier if you have:

  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Personal history of polyps
  • Lifestyle with high risk factors (obesity, alcohol, red meat, smoking)

You should also talk to your health care provider if you experience:

  • Change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool that lasts for more than a few days
  • Feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that is not relieved when you do
  • Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
  • Cramping or steady abdominal pain
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Jaundice

Talk to your doctor about when to schedule your colonoscopy.

Treatment

Treatment

If you are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, we will find the best treatment approach for your individual needs and condition. Our colorectal specialists include:

  • Gastroenterologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Colorectal surgeons

We work together to provide the most advanced and minimally invasive procedures.

Our surgeons are trained in general surgery, and have advanced training in the treatment of colon and rectal problems. They are experts in recent advances and traditional treatments. They are all members of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS) and are board certified in colorectal surgery.

Anal Cancer

For anal cancer, the first-line treatment is usually chemotherapy and radiation. If the cancer cannot be cured this way, surgical removal of the anus is required and is performed by a colorectal surgeon. Most patients will never require surgery for anal cancer if it is cured by chemo/radiation treatment.

Colon and Rectal Cancer

Colon and rectal cancers are often treated with surgery alone or in combination with chemotherapy and/or radiation depending on the type, extent, and location of the tumor. Usually part of the colon or rectum is removed and reconnected. In some situations, a stoma/ostomy may be required.

Recent advances in colorectal surgery have improved patients’ quality and length of life. These advances include minimally invasive surgical techniques (laparoscopic and robotic), ostomy bag alternatives, and other procedures that preserve normal bowel functions.

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