Colon and Rectal Cancers
At the Bennett Cancer Center, we offer you a wide range of services specific to colorectal cancer, from routine screening to diagnosis and treatment. Our multidisciplinary team approach allows us to perform research and provide supportive care, all in a compassionate environment that puts you first.
What causes colorectal cancer?
There are certain factors that may increase your chance of getting polyps or colorectal cancer:
- If you’re 50 or older, when more than 90% of cases occur
- If you’ve previously had polyps or colon cancer
- If you have a family history of colorectal cancer
- Your background: African Americans have a slightly higher risk and may need to begin screening earlier than normally recommended.
- If you have a high-fat diet, lack exercise, or are overweight
- If you smoke
The risk of developing colorectal cancer at some point in your life is about 1 in 20, according to the American Cancer Society. However, increased awareness has led to an increase in colonoscopies with more early detection, which is good news.
What makes colorectal cancer care at Stamford Health unique?
Every month, our team holds a GI Tumor to review and assess individual patient cases to help make the best decisions in care going forward. This conference is attended by all the members of our team and includes colorectal surgeons, oncologic surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and gastroenterologists.
On an ongoing basis, the Bennett Cancer Center’s Cancer Committee reviews, monitors and reports on quality of care measures established by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC). See the results for colorectal cancer.
The pathologists at Stamford Hospital work closely with our colorectal surgeons, oncologic surgeon, gastroenterologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, and the geneticist at the Stamford Hospital Colorectal Cancer Registry Program. Our pathologists evaluate colorectal cancers for the genetic abnormalities that underlie many forms of hereditary and non-hereditary colon cancers. Having an accurate diagnosis helps our physicians determine the most effective treatment.
What treatment options besides chemotherapy and surgery exist for colon cancer?
We offer a unique outpatient option to complement existing chemotherapy treatments or as a standalone procedure.Yttrium 90 (Y90) was created for those whose stage IV colorectal cancer has spread to the liver and is inoperable. This FDA-approved treatment:
- Releases millions of tiny beads to the site of the liver tumors to decrease their size
- Spares surrounding healthy liver tissue
- Lessens the chance of side effects, which means a better quality of life
- As always, your doctor can help decide if this type of selective internal radiation therapy is best suited for your medical condition.
Bowel resection surgery is often the main treatment for earlier-stage colorectal cancer. To avoid major surgery, we perform laparo-endoscopic resection of large benign tumors. And whenever possible, our team emphasizes minimally invasive surgery. This typically involves a smaller incision and can ultimately reduce postoperative pain and medication levels, as well as speed the return of bowel function. We use the DaVinci platform when indicated for better visualization and precise dissection during surgery.
Remember, our colorectal surgeons always want to provide you with the most appropriate treatment options for your individual situation, including the tumor location and the extent of your cancer. We’re committed to employing early recovery pathways after colorectal surgery for faster recovery, a quicker return home, and less chance of post-operative complications.
Whenever possible, we use minimally invasive techniques including the DaVinci robotic platform or better outcomes. We also perform Transanal endoscopic microsurgery for those whose rectal tumors are detected in the early stages. We use lapro-endoscopic surgery for large polyps that would traditionally require major surgery.
While both colon and rectal cancers are closely related, it’s important to distinguish the differences in surgical treatment. In some cases, rectal surgery can result in urinary or sexual dysfunction. It’s crucial that only a skilled and experienced surgeon, who provides nerve-sparing surgery, performs your procedure.
Our rectal cancer team is in the process of being accredited by OSTRiCh Consortium (Optimizing the Surgical Treatment of Rectal Cancers), a national multidisciplinary group whose focus is on rectal cancer. This would put Stamford Hospital among a diverse group of healthcare institutions dedicated to improving the quality of rectal cancer care in the US through advocacy, education and research.