Known as the silent killer, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Every year, approximately 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer and it kills more than 50,000 people. When found early, however, colon cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer. Because it can begin with few or no symptoms, screenings are an important tool for catching the disease early. There are many different tests for colon cancer, so talk to your doctor about what is appropriate for you.
Colorectal cancer develops in the final part of the digestive system: the longest part of the large intestine (the colon) and the tissue (the rectum) that connects the large intestine to the anus. Most colorectal cancers develop slowly over several years, usually starting as a pre-cancerous polyp on the lining of the colon or rectum, then growing into the tissue wall and possibly blood or lymph vessels. Colorectal is the fourth-most commonly diagnosed cancer, and the second-leading cause of cancer deaths. But we are making strides—treatments continue to improve, and effective screenings can catch the disease in its earliest, most vulnerable stages.
Colon and Rectum Cancer Care
We welcome the chance to help you with an initial diagnosis or provide a second opinion. Our program features:
Special Expertise and Experienced Team: MedStar Health colorectal surgeons are nationally known for their expertise and form the core of our experienced and compassionate team, one that can handle even the most complex cases. Our team works closely together to provide comprehensive care and includes a range of top specialists:
- Colorectal surgeons (board-certified, with additional, specialized training in the colon and rectum)
- Gynecologic oncologists
- Medical oncologists
- Nurse navigator
- Oncology nurses
- Radiation oncologists
- Support specialists
Convenience and Coordination: We offer a number of convenient locations for colorectal care, with appointment hours to meet your needs. We also offer a range of support services to make your care as easy as possible, including a personal nurse navigator to help you with decisions, paperwork and appointments.
Latest Treatments: We offer a range of cutting-edge treatments, including minimally invasive procedures such as laparoscopic, endoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery to speed recovery time and minimize post-operative pain.
Promising Clinical Trials and Research: Our clinical trials and studies offer promising new approaches, including heated chemotherapy during operations (HIPEC) for otherwise incurable cancer, targeting genetic changes in tumors and identifying new drugs and therapy combinations.
Colon Cancer Risk Factors and Screenings
More than 95 percent of colorectal cancers are adenocarcinomas, cancers that start in cells forming the mucus-making glands that lubricate the colon and rectum. While we usually don’t know what causes colorectal cancer, there are several risk factors that increase your chance of getting the disease, including age, race, medical history and lifestyle. Learn more.
MedStar Colorectal Surgery Program
This program is a regional network designed to provide excellence in care and ease of access throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Our eight board-certified colorectal surgeons are specifically trained in the latest techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the colon, rectum and anus. We offer minimally-invasive techniques toward reducing recovery time, minimizing hospital stay and facilitating return to normal daily activity. Learn more.
MedStar St. Mary's Hospital
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Our colorectal cancer specialists can help create a tailored plan just for you.