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Colorectal cancer care looks different for everyone. We offer a variety of treatment options that work to remove the cancerous polyps. You and your doctor work together to decide on a treatment plan tailored to your needs. From common to complex cases, you can rely on our doctors to expertly treat colon cancer.
What We Offer for Colon Cancer
At Stanford Health care, our colorectal cancer team works with you to provide personalized treatment. You will find comprehensive, supportive, and expert care that includes:
Specialized expertise: Our team has decades of experience diagnosing and treating colorectal cancers. You can trust us with your cancer care, from common to complex colon cancers.
Team-based approach: Your care team works together to provide you with expert and comprehensive care. Colorectal cancer surgeons collaborate with cancer doctors and radiation therapy doctors who specialize in cancers of the digestive system.
Advanced treatment options: We offer treatments that require in-depth knowledge and expertise. You will find treatment options not widely available, from advanced endoscopy complex cancer surgery to medications and radiation therapy.
Access to leading-edge therapies: Our groundbreaking clinical trials offer earlier access to the latest colorectal cancer treatments.
Comprehensive support services: You can rely on our variety of support services for medical, emotional, and spiritual help as you navigate your cancer journey.
Ease of access: You can find doctors at locations throughout the Bay Area or see your care team virtually. We easily connect you with screening, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care.
Connect to Care
Let us help find personalized care options for you and your family.
The Stanford Medicine Online Second Opinion program offers you easy access to our world-class doctors. It’s all done remotely, and you don’t have to visit our hospital or one of our clinics for this service. You don’t even need to leave home!
Colorectal cancer treatment depends on your unique diagnosis. Your doctor will recommend a care plan for you based on your age, overall health, and preferences. The characteristics of the cancer also factor into your treatment, including the cancer’s stage and features.
Your treatment may include surgery, ablation, radiation, cancer medications, or a combination of these methods. If your needs or tolerance for a specific treatment change, we work with you to adjust your treatment plan.
Colon cancer surgery
Colorectal surgery tries to remove as much of the cancer as possible. We use the least invasive procedures available to help you feel better faster. Our surgeons and gastroenterologists specialize in advanced endoscopy, which allows them to examine the large intestine and perform minimally invasive procedures.
Polypectomy: Your doctor removes polyps from the large intestine, usually during a colonoscopy. For larger, hard to reach polyps, our surgeons specialize in minimally invasive techniques.
Colectomy: Experienced surgeons remove the area of the colon with cancer. Since the colon is part of one long tube, surgeons connect the remaining sections of the colon together. Nearby lymph nodes are also removed in case the cancer has spread.
Colostomy: Surgeons perform this type of colon resection when connecting the parts of the colon is not an option. Instead, surgeons reconnect the colon to an opening that goes outside the body into a waste bag. This “diverts” digestion away from the rest of the digestive tract (the rectum and anus).
Colon cancer ablation techniques
Tumor ablation therapies use minimally invasive methods to destroy colorectal cancer cells that have spread to other organs, such as the liver. Guided by imaging of the body, these methods inject cancer-killing treatment directly into the tumor while you are sedated. Ablation can be an effective alternative to surgery.
Our ablation techniques to kill cancer cells include:
Cryoablation (cryosurgery), which freezes cancer cells using a cold gas
Ethanol ablation, whichinjects ethanol, a concentrated alcohol, into the tumor
Microwave ablation, which delivers microwaves to the tumor that heat the cells
Radiation therapy uses a high-energy X-ray (radiation) to treat colorectal cancer and prevent its spread. This therapy works to target cancer cells while minimizing harm to the surrounding healthy cells. Radiation therapy is painless and safe. You will not be radioactive afterward and can safely be around others.
Some treatment plans involve both surgery and radiation. Both external and internal radiation therapy can be given during your surgery to target any remaining cancer cells.
External radiation therapy
External beam radiation therapy (EBRT) uses machines that move around your body for a few minutes to deliver radiation to the tumor. The machines do not touch you and you can’t feel the radiation as it works. A radiation specialist may deliver radiation beams in different ways, including:
3D conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT), which uses imaging of the tumor to match the angles of the radiation beams to the exact shape of the tumor
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which works like 3D-CRT while also customizing the strength of each beam
Internal radiation therapy, or brachytherapy, is a treatment for rectal cancer. This treatment places a small implant in the rectum that emits radiation. Depending on the strength of the radiation, the implant may remain in your body for a couple hours or up to several days.
Since this method so precisely targets the tumor, it especially limits harm to healthy cells. Types of internal radiation therapy include:
Interstitial radiation, whichplaces the implant in or near the tumor
Intracavitary radiation, whichplaces the implant in the space, or cavity, of the rectum
We offer another advanced type of internal radiation therapy for colon cancer that has spread to the liver. This therapy, called radioembolization or Y90, combines radiation with embolization, a technique that blocks blood flow to the tumor. Radioembolization inserts small radioactive beads into the blood vessels near the tumor to kill cancer cells.
Medications for colon cancer
Cancer medications shrink or kill cancer cells to stop the spread of cancer. Your doctor can prescribe the medications in pill form or as an injection into your veins. As a result, they circulate throughout your entire body.
If given before surgery, cancer medications can shrink the tumor to make surgery more successful. If given after surgery, the medications kill any remaining cancer cells.
Types of colorectal cancer medications include:
Chemotherapy: These powerful cancer medications usually treat more advanced cancer. Chemotherapy works by stopping cancer cells from growing.
Immunotherapy: This therapy uses the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells. The immune system naturally protects the body from harmful toxins and disease.
Targeted therapy: Each type of this medication attacks a specific type of cancer cell. Since it’s so focused, this therapy may cause fewer side effects than other medications.
Colon cancer pain management
Our team at the Cancer Pain Management Center understands the impact pain can have on your functioning and independence. You can access a variety of therapies and medications to ease any pain from colorectal cancer. We focus on treating your physical and mental wellbeing to restore your quality of life.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials through the Stanford Cancer Institute.
Open trials refer to studies that are currently recruiting participants or that may recruit participants in the near future. Closed trials are not currently enrolling additional patients.
Make An Appointment
To schedule an appointment with a colon cancer specialist, please call: 650-498-6000