Colon Cancer

Colon cancer typed on a clipboard

At the Abramson Cancer Center, we understand the many ways colon cancer can affect your life. We’re here to support you. Our team of renowned cancer experts is experienced in treating all types of colon cancer with precision and compassion.

About Colon Cancer

Colon cancer develops inside the large bowel (large intestine). Colon cancer often starts out as a benign (non-cancerous) mass of cells that grows along the colon’s lining.

Regular colon cancer screening, such as colonoscopy, helps doctors find suspicious cells before they turn into cancer. Most people should have a yearly colonoscopy starting at age 50. Some colon cancers are caused by gene mutations that can be passed down in families. If colon cancer runs in your family, your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent tests.

Our team offers in-depth expertise in cancer genetics. At the Gastrointestinal Cancer Genetics Program, we can help you learn more about your risk so you can make decisions that are right for your situation.

Learn more about:

Why Choose the Abramson Cancer Center for Colon Cancer Care?

We offer a full array of the most advanced screening, diagnostic, treatment and surveillance services. Our team is committed to our patients. We stay in close contact with you during your treatment and ensure you can reach us at any time through our easy-to-navigate patient portal, myPennMedicine. We never lose focus of our ultimate goal: curing cancer and improving lives.

When you come to us, you can also expect:

  • Colon cancer surgical expertise: Our team includes accomplished colorectal surgeons and other specialists who have intensive fellowship training in treating colon cancer. Our surgeons perform sophisticated surgeries to remove cancer cells with minimal impact to your body’s natural functions. Meet our GI cancer team.
  • Enhanced treatment options: Our robust research program investigates leading-edge targeted therapy, immunotherapy and other new treatments. A clinical trial may offer you more choices in your care.
  • Precise diagnosis: Experienced gastroenterologists work alongside pathologists, radiologists and colorectal surgeons to diagnose common and rare forms of colon cancer. We perform specialized tests to determine a cancer’s DNA, which helps us customize treatment. Read about colon cancer diagnosis.
  • Team-based care: A multidisciplinary team including surgeons and medical oncologists talk often about your test results and the best way to personalize your treatment. Having different specialists working at the same location also helps us streamline your care, making it easier for you to get timely answers and prompt treatment.
  • Wide-ranging support: Our nurse navigators help schedule appointments and guide you to resources so you can focus on getting well. Learn more about navigating GI cancer.
  • Convenience: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) in Philadelphia is home to many of our GI cancer specialists and services. But our collaborative care approach ensures you can receive the same high level of colon cancer expertise at our satellite locations.

Our Approach to Colon Cancer Treatment: The Penn Medicine Advantage

Colon cancer treatment is evolving in promising ways. We test every cancer to learn about its genetic and molecular makeup. What we learn helps us determine which treatments are most likely to benefit you.

Colon cancer treatment options include:

  • Chemotherapy: Your doctor may recommend oral or intravenous (IV) cancer-destroying drugs before or after surgery. This timing can improve treatment effectiveness.
  • Immunotherapy: These cancer drugs boost your body’s immune system to fight cancer more effectively.
  • Targeted therapy: These medications target specific changes in cancer cells that allow them to grow and spread. We use specialized tests to match you with therapies that are right for you.
  • Surgery: Our skilled colorectal surgeons perform a high volume of complex procedures to remove colon cancer tumors. They always use the least invasive surgical approach for your needs. We use a plan of enhanced recovery after surgery protocols (ERAS®) to optimize your health before and after surgery, so you recover faster. Our goal is to treat cancer while minimizing impact to how your body functions. If surgery affects your bowel function, our specialists are trained to help.
  • Clinical trials: We offer exciting treatment options, including clinical trials that explore the potential of some of the newest cancer therapies. Read about our GI cancer research.
  • Supportive care: Our full menu of GI cancer support services prioritizes your whole health and helps you manage any treatment side effects.

Metastatic Colon Cancer Treatments

Metastatic colon cancer is cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. We offer specialized therapies for metastatic colon cancer, including:

  • HIPEC (heated/hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy): This therapy delivers a powerful dose of chemotherapy directly to tumors inside the abdomen. Penn was one of the first centers in the region to offer HIPEC.
  • Hepatic artery infusion pump: This pump delivers a high dose of chemotherapy medication directly to the liver. We are one of few centers in the country to offer this specialized treatment for colon cancer that spreads to the liver.

Comprehensive Colon Cancer Surveillance

After treatment ends, our team follows you closely to monitor any changes in your health. Periodic colon cancer screenings, lab tests and check-ups help our doctors detect a possible cancer recurrence early.

Request an Appointment

Call 215-615-0534 to speak with a knowledgeable nurse navigator who can guide you to the right colon cancer expert for your needs. You can also request an appointment online.