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Colorectal Cancer Care

Are you concerned about colon, rectal or anal cancer? These three kinds of cancers affect the lower parts of your digestive system. They are also known as colorectal cancers. If you have been diagnosed with one of these conditions, you’re probably looking for information and reassurance. PeaceHealth is here to help. We offer advanced colorectal cancer care close to your home, plus many related services to support you and your family. Here’s what you need to know about colorectal cancer care at PeaceHealth.

Caring for you, not just your cancer

PeaceHealth cancer care is fully integrated. This means your colorectal cancer specialists work together. They’re all part of one team, devoted to giving you the best possible care from diagnosis through staging and treatment. 

Your care team may include:

  • Cancer doctors (oncologists)
  • Surgeons (proctologists or general surgeons)
  • Radiation specialists (radiation oncologists)
  • Nurses who specialize in cancer
  • Cancer social workers
  • Other specialists depending on your needs

As you move through treatment, your team will communicate regularly with each other, and with you, so you know what to expect.

Colorectal cancer care at a glance

What does my colorectal cancer diagnosis mean?

A colorectal cancer diagnosis means that cancer cells have been found in your colon (also known as the large bowel or large intestine), rectum (the very end of the large intestine) or anus (the hole where waste passes out of your body). It happens when some cells in your colon, rectum or anus grow in an unusual way and form a polyp (growth) or tumor.

Colorectal cancer can be a serious condition, but it’s also quite common. In fact, colorectal cancer is the third most common adult cancer in the U.S., outside of skin cancer. It’s most treatable when it’s identified early.

If your doctor suspects colorectal cancer, they will do diagnostic tests to confirm it. For most people, the next step after diagnosis is to learn more about your cancer so we can create a treatment plan that’s right for you.

You and your doctor might decide to do more tests, scans or a biopsy (sample) to get more information. They might recommend a procedure called a colonoscopy. It lets your doctor look closely at your colon and rectum, do a biopsy, or in some cases remove polyps or cancerous growths. It can help your care team learn more about your cancer type and stage (severity).

What’s included in a colorectal cancer treatment plan?

Just like no two people are the same, no two colorectal cancers are the same. Once we know more about your cancer, we can plan the most effective way to treat it.

Your plan will outline treatment recommendations and a timeline for your care. To create your plan, you and your PeaceHealth care team will consider:

  • Cancer type (There are different kinds of colorectal cancer.)
  • Cancer stage (How much has the cancer grown and spread?)
  • Cancer location (Where is the tumor or polyp? Is there more than one?)
  • Your general health (How are you feeling? What type of care will you tolerate best?)
  • Your personal and family preferences (What are your beliefs and needs?)

Most plans include more than one kind of treatment. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are common cancer treatments and some plans include all three.

What to expect at PeaceHealth

At PeaceHealth you’ll have access to the latest colorectal cancer treatments available. At the same time, we never forget about the person at the center of it all: you.

Your team may discuss options that include:

  • Surgery: Colorectal cancer is often treated with surgery, for example polyp removal (polypectomy). PeaceHealth has skilled colorectal cancer surgeons. Using advanced tools, they know how to make surgery more precise and less invasive for faster recovery.
  • Chemotherapy: This treatment uses powerful medicines to damage cancer cells, shrink tumors and slow cancer’s growth. We have hundreds of chemo medications to choose from, depending on your needs.
  • Radiation therapy: Beams of energy (radiation) are aimed at cancer cells. PeaceHealth radiation centers use advanced technologies like intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT)and stereotactic radiosurgery to effectively target cancer cells and avoid healthy cells. This can mean fewer treatments and faster recovery.
  • Immunotherapy: This innovative treatment boosts your body’s natural defenses against cancer.
  • Clinical trials: Your PeaceHealth provider will let you know if there’s a clinical trial or research study that’s right for you. If there is, you may be able to access newer treatments for your type of cancer. 
Why choose PeaceHealth

Colorectal cancer care at PeaceHealth includes more than doctor’s appointments and medical treatments. We offer support for body, mind and spirit. This includes:


  • Whole-person care: If you need help from a cancer social worker, family counseling, nutrition advice or spiritual guidance, PeaceHealth has skilled, compassionate people on staff and ready to help. 

  • Nurse navigators: In addition to cancer specialists, your care team includes a nurse navigator to answer questions, help with scheduling and much more. They’ll be your advocate throughout your treatment at PeaceHealth.

  • Support services: We offer complementary services that make life a little easier during cancer treatment.  This includes complementary care such as yoga, nutrition classes, support groups, advanced care planning and survivorship classes.

  • Continuing care: Colorectal cancer care doesn’t end when treatments are done. You may want ongoing help with managing your condition. Or further treatments like reconstructive surgery. Or you might want nutrition advice as part of your continuing care. Regular cancer screenings are important, too. 


Next steps

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer, you suddenly have a lot to consider. 

Now is a time you might want extra support from friends, family — and healthcare professionals. PeaceHealth is here to make sure you get the help you need.

To learn more, contact a cancer center near you, research PeaceHealth cancer specialists or visit our health information library for colorectal cancer information and resources.