Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Stanford's Colorectal Cancer Expertise

Stanford's Colorectal Cancer team leads the translation of basic science into clinical care and brings cutting edge technologies to our patients. Our nationally recognized experts provide comprehensive care for all patients with colon and rectal cancer. For more advanced conditions our multi-specialty team of medical, surgical and radiation specialists treat local primary and recurrent colorectal diseases. Some of our innovations include:

Advanced Imaging

  • Endoscopic Ultrasound imaging for accurate staging of rectal cancer
  • PET/CT imaging
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a new 3T magnet for improved resolution and treatment planning

Advanced Surgical Techniques

  • Minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgical techniques that allow for less post-operative pain, shorter hospital stays, and a faster return to work and other activities
  • Expertise in combined colorectal and liver resection (in selected patients) that would otherwise require multiple operations
  • Sphincter-sparing techniques for low-lying rectal cancers, such as Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery (TEM) for early-stage cancers
  • Commitment to the principles of oncologic surgery to reduce the risk of local recurrence, such as Total Mesorectal Excision for rectal cancer
  • Collaboration with other surgical specialties, such as urology and gynecologic oncology, for resection of advanced tumors invading into other organs

Chemotherapy & Molecularly Targeted Therapies

  • Expertise in the treatment of colorectal cancer acquired through teaching and research on the disease affords a depth of knowledge of drug regimens for the specific and personalized treatment of colon cancer
  • A large portfolio of research on colorectal cancer including gene sequencing, novel imaging and clinical trials of promising therapies

Radiation Oncology
For selected rectal cancer patients, specialized radiation therapy techniques are appropriate including:

  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) delivers highly accurate doses of radiation to tumors while minimizing contact with surrounding normal tissues.
  • Intensity modulated radiation (IMRT) reduces the dose of radiation received by healthy tissue and can allow doctors to deliver radiation to difficult-to-reach areas.
  • Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT) allows doctors to deliver a high dose of radiation to the tumor site while a patient is still in the operating room during surgery. One-time IORT is more convenient than traditional radiotherapy and reduces the exposure of healthy tissues to radiation.

Stanford operates a dedicated weekly multi-specialty GI Tumor Board attended by surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, and pathologists.

When appropriate, patients are invited to participate in studies of new treatments as well as large-scale multicenter clinical trials.

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