Diagnosis and Treatment of Colorectal Cancer | Loyola Medicine

Colorectal Cancer

Multidisciplinary Approach to Diagnose and Treat Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer, also known as bowel cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States—and one of the many cancer types treated by the highly skilled doctors at Loyola Medicine. Our team of doctors uses a multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer, and is skilled in state-of-the-art techniques, such as laparoscopic surgery and transanal endoscopic microsurgery. 
Colon cancer develops in the large intestine, or colon, which is the lower part of the digestive system. Rectal cancer develops in the last several inches of the colon. Together, these are referred to as colorectal cancers.
Colorectal cancer most often begins when precancerous cells (polyps) develop on the inside lining of the colon. If left untreated, these benign polyps may develop into cancer.
Your risk of developing colorectal cancer can increase if you have an inherited gene mutation.  The most common forms of inherited colorectal cancer syndromes are: familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC), or Lynch syndrome.

Loyola is committed to research in the area of gastrointestinal cancers. Our highly skilled team of professionals offers the cancer risk assessment and cancer genetics evaluation programs to help you understand your risk of developing colorectal cancer. During your visit, we will ask you about your family’s current and past medical conditions to determine if there is a genetic factor that should be studied.

How is Colorectal Cancer Diagnosed?

Doctors at Loyola are trained to recognize colorectal cancer symptoms, and are committed to the expert diagnosis and care of our patients. Colorectal cancer symptoms may include the following:

  • A change in bowel habits
  • Blood in the stool
  • Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty all the way
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent bloating
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

A patient’s personal family and medical history, symptoms and physical exam may aid in the diagnosis of colorectal cancer. If cancer is suspected, your doctor may order additional testing, which can include:

How is Colorectal Cancer Treated?

Loyola is recognized for its multidisciplinary Gastrointestinal Oncology Center, which provides access to medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, colon and rectal surgeons, gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists and geneticists in one visit. Our experienced team of colon and rectal surgeons are skilled at treating all types of colorectal cancer.
Colorectal (bowel) cancer treatment is specific to each individual patient, and depends on the size, type, location and stage of the cancer. In most cases, one of the following treatment options will be offered:

Loyola has the unique distinction of offering patients transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM), which uses special scopes and instruments to remove polyps or tumors that traditional instruments cannot remove. Loyola’s surgeons are uniquely trained and qualified to perform this procedure.

Preventing Colorectal Cancer through Colonscopy

Doctors at Loyola recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colorectal cancer.  Receiving a regular colonoscopy, particularly if you have a hereditary predisposition to colorectal cancer, can help identify polyps before they become colon cancer. Learn more about our colorectal cancer screening guidelines.


Colorectal Cancer Research and Clinical Trials

As part of an academic medical center, our faculty members educate and train medical students and surgical residents, and are actively engaged in research that leads to better treatments and patient care for colorectal cancer.

As a patient at Loyola, you will have access to leading-edge treatments and a broad menu of clinical trials.