Skip to Content

Colon Cancer (Colorectal Cancer, Rectal Cancer)

Our Approach to Colon Cancer

Oncologist Bryan Kee, M.D., listens to one of his patients during an appointment. Our physicians encourage patients
to take an active role in their treatment. 

At MD Anderson, your treatment for colon cancer is personalized to provide the best outcomes, while focusing on your quality of life. An entire team of some of the nation’s leading physicians, supported by specially trained professionals, focuses its attention on giving you the most advanced care with the least impact on your body.

The Colorectal Center offers leading-edge treatments for colon cancer, many of which are found at only a few cancer centers in the country. In fact, we are known around the world for groundbreaking developments in colon cancer treatment.

Our highly specialized surgeons focus only on the treatment of colorectal cancer, which translates into a remarkable depth of experience and skill. Minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgeries often can be used, decreasing pain, helping you recover faster and shortening your hospital stay.

Because of this expertise, colostomies rarely are needed for colon cancer. However, if a colostomy is necessary, our team of specially trained nurses helps you make that transition. Nutritionists with expertise in colon cancer care work with you every step of the way.

Specialized Colon Cancer Treatments

If chemotherapy is needed to treat colon cancer, MD Anderson offers the newest options. Our internationally renowned team of physicians directs your therapy for the most benefit, while minimizing the impact on your body.

Sometimes radiation therapy is recommended as a part of treatment for colon cancer. Our colorectal radiation oncologists specialize in treating patients with colon cancer. They use the most advanced equipment and techniques, including proton therapy, to achieve maximum treatment benefit with the fewest side effects.

MD Anderson has special expertise in advanced colon cancer that has metastasized (spread) to other parts of the body. We offer novel chemotherapy and targeted therapy options, as well as a dedicated surgery program.

Leading-Edge Advancements

Our advanced knowledge in cancer genetics can help diagnose and treat inherited family syndromes that may increase risk of colon cancer. This expertise also helps us work with you to plan the most effective treatment for your specific condition.

As one of the world’s largest cancer research centers, MD Anderson is a leading center for the investigation into new methods of colon cancer diagnosis and treatment. Each patient benefits from the most advanced research.

And at MD Anderson you’re surrounded by the strength of one of the nation’s largest and most experienced comprehensive cancer centers, which has all the support and wellness services needed to treat the whole person – not just the disease.

If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Advanced colon cancer treatments, including minimally invasive surgery, novel chemotherapies and targeted therapies
  • Proton therapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Leading-edge diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy including endoscopic ultrasound, endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoluminal stent placement
  • Noninvasive virtual colonoscopy, which we helped pioneer
  • Clinical trials for all stages and types of colon cancer

Colon Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Colon cancer is treated in our:

Find Your MD Anderson Location

Colon Cancer Survivor James Wiley

"Twenty-eight years ago I came here with no hope, with stage IV colon cancer. You are in the best place you can be."

Learn more

Colon Cancer Facts

Colon cancer and rectal cancer sometimes are grouped together and called colorectal cancer. Not counting skin cancers, colorectal cancers are the third most common type of cancer in the United States. More than 106,000 people in this country are diagnosed with colon cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

One in 19 people, or a little more than 5%, of Americans will develop colon or rectal cancer in their lifetimes. When colon cancer is diagnosed early, it has nearly a 90% chance for cure.

Survival rate is on the rise

The colon is part of the digestive system, also called the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

  • The colon is the first six feet of the large intestine, also called the large bowel
  • The rectum is the last six inches of the large intestine, which ends in the anus

Colorectal cancers grow slowly. They usually start as polyps, which are overgrowths of tissue in the lining of the colon. Colon cancer may start within a polyp, but not all polyps contain cancer.

The survival rate for colon cancers has been increasing for the past 15 years. Because of screening, polyps often are found and removed before they become cancer. Also, treatments have become more advanced and less invasive.

Colon Cancer Types

More than 95% of colorectal cancers are adenocarcinomas. Approximately 90% of colorectal adenocarcinomas began as adenomas, which are a type of polyp that may become cancer.

About 20% of colon cancers are inherited or are associated with a strong history of colon cancer in the family. The main types of colon cancer that are inherited include:

Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer syndrome or HNPCC (also called Lynch syndrome), accounts for 5% to 7% of colon cancers

Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) causes hundreds to thousands of polyps in the GI tract. FAP may begin during childhood.

If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer, we’re here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center