Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Diagnosis and Treatment of Colon Cancer

Colon cancer is a tumor that forms in the large intestine, which is a key place for absorption of water, electrolytes, vitamin k and vitamin b-12. Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancers and the American Cancer Society expects that over 100,000 cases will occur in 2004.

Colon cancers are divided typically into three classes: adenocarcinoma, scirrhous tumors, and neuroendocrine tumors. Adenocarcinomas are the most common and most treatable form of the disease. Identification of colon cancer at early stages, prior to nodal involvement and distant metastasis, greatly improves the patient outcomes, therefore annual screening is recommended for both men and women starting at age 50.

A Team Approach

At the Stanford Cancer Center, your colon cancer will be treated by a multidisciplinary group of physicians focused on your care. Colon cancer treatment is largely multidisciplinary, requiring the skills of surgeons, chemotherapists, and radiologists. (See Stanford Cancer Center newsletter on Colorectal Cancer Program.)

In addition, a multidisciplinary gastrointestinal-colorectal tumor board composed of specialists in radiology, interventional radiology, radiation oncology, medical oncology, pathology, and gastroenterology (including hepatology) meet weekly to analyze each patients situation and design a customized solution.

Furthermore, Stanford invites patient participation at these meetings to keep you in the loop from the earliest point in the treatment process.

The Best Technology

At the Cancer Center, our physicians are some of the leaders in their fields and have access to the most advanced technologies available to provide for your care. Our programs and expertise can be outlined as follows:

Diagnostic Radiology

Radiation Oncology

Skilled Surgeons

Cancer Center surgeons provide skilled management of rare or complex cases where coordination of services and good communication among subspecialists is critical. This is especially important for newly diagnosed patients requiring involvement of surgeons as well as radiation and medical oncologists.

In addition, the Center offers the most advanced laparoscopic colon cancer procedures. These minimally invasive procedures cause patients less pain and provide faster recovery times.

Clinical Trials

Medical oncologists in the Gastrointestinal Oncology program have focused expertise in gastrointestinal malignancies. Our physicians are very active in developing the latest forms of chemotherapy and biological therapies.

For example, through Cancer Center clinical trials, patients were able to access the now-approved lung cancer pill called Iressa which inhibits the EGFR receptor and has shown promise in treating colon cancer.

We are dedicated to bringing promising research into clinical use as soon as it is deemed efficacious and safe.

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