The term “colorectal cancer” refers to any cancer that develops in the colon (large intestine) or the rectum (which connects the colon to the anus). Sometimes, the conditions “colon cancer” and “rectal cancer” are referred to separately, based on where the cancer originates, but the two cancers share important commonalities, such as risk factors, symptoms and diagnostic and treatment strategies.
In general, cancer is a condition that develops when a group of cells in the body begins to reproduce uncontrollably. Cancer can originate anywhere in the body, and if left untreated, can spread to other areas of the body (metastasize). Colorectal cancer often develops slowly over several years, starting as a noncancerous polyp on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Some, but not all, polyps can become cancerous. Routine tests and regular screening can often detect the presence of polyps, increasing the chances of catching colorectal cancer when the condition is most treatable.
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Moffitt Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Program includes board-certified physicians who are highly specialized in diagnosing and treating colorectal cancer. The colorectal cancer team treats hundreds of colorectal tumor patients every year, and each patient receives individualized attention from our collaborative tumor board – an assembly of surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, nurses and other cancer specialists who meet weekly to discuss each patient’s case. The tumor board assesses the patient’s condition and maps out a treatment plan that pays special attention to his or her unique circumstances, and then monitors his or her progress throughout the treatment program.
The treatments we offer at Moffitt are available to anyone, including those who:
- Have recently been diagnosed with colorectal cancer
- Are in need of a second opinion
- Are concerned about colorectal cancer and are seeking initial diagnostic testing
- Have had a recurrence of colorectal cancer and want to consult with a new physician
- Have other conditions that may make cancer treatment more complicated
- Are having trouble finding care that is right for them
Our collaborative approach to treatment, combined with our vigorous clinical trials program and research efforts, has led to Moffitt being named a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute – the only such center based in Florida.
To learn more about colorectal cancer, or to consult with the oncologists of our colorectal cancer program, call Moffitt Cancer Center at 1-888-MOFFITT or fill out our convenient online patient registration form. No referral is necessary.