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Colon and Rectal Cancer Program

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Program Overview

Penn Medicine’s Colon and Rectal Cancer Program is a leader in diagnosing and treating colon and rectal conditions. As part of the Abramson Cancer Center, we specialize in advanced, evidence-based approaches to surgery and treatment of cancer of the colon, rectum and anus.

We'll work with you to ensure you receive high-quality care, delivered with compassion and with the best long-term chance to remain cancer-free and preserve function. Our program leads with the belief that high quality diagnosis, staging and follow-up care is key to a successful outcome.

The interdisciplinary team for colon and rectal cancer includes colon and rectal specialist surgeons, medical oncologists, gastroenterologists, radiation oncologists, a nurse navigator and more. The team’s constant communication, weekly case conferences and collaboration are key to the comprehensive care of our colon and rectal cancer patients.

Conditions Treated by the Colon and Rectal Cancer Program

There are several types of colon cancers and rectal cancers. We treat all conditions, which include:

  • Adenocarcinoma – The majority (95%) of colorectal cancers are adenocarcinomas. This is a cancer of the cells that line in the inside surface of the colon.
  • Carcinoid tumors – This tumor starts in hormone-producing cells of the intestine.
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) – This is a soft tissue sarcoma that can be found anywhere within the gastrointestinal tract; however, it is rare to be found within the colon.
  • Lymphomas – This is a cancer of the immune system cells that typically start in lymph nodes but may also start in the colon or rectum.

Learn how colon cancer and rectal cancer are diagnosed and the screening options available.

Why Penn Medicine’s Colon and Rectal Cancer Program Is Different

  • Our surgeons are fellowship trained and highly specialized.
  • Our multidisciplinary team conferences about their cases weekly.
  • We use a minimally invasive approach to surgery.
  • We have experience with sphincter preservation in the treatment of rectal cancer.
  • Our patients receive access to the most advanced treatments, including proton therapy, immunotherapy and clinical trials.
  • We have oncology nurse navigators that work closely with patients and their physicians for the cancer journey.

Treatments Offered by the Colon and Rectal Cancer Program