Colon Cancer Treatment Information

Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon. Together, they're often referred to as colorectal cancers. Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Over time some of these polyps become colon cancers.

Polyps may be small and produce few, if any, symptoms. However, if your signs and symptoms indicate that you could have colon cancer, your doctor may recommend diagnostic tests and procedures such as a colonoscopy, labs, and radiology studies.

Colon cancer can develop in several different types of cells within the large intestine. The condition subtype is designated by the cell type in which it originates. The main forms of colon cancer include:

  • Adenocarcinomas, which develop in the colon’s mucus-producing glands
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors, or GISTs, which develop in the interstitial cells of Cajal that line the colon’s interior walls
  • Carcinoid tumors, which develop in the hormone-producing cells in the large intestine
  • Lymphomas, which develop in the immune system cells
  • Sarcomas, which develop in the muscles, connective tissues and blood vessels of the colon

Once you've been diagnosed with colon cancer, your doctor will order tests to determine the extent (stage) of your cancer. The type of treatment your colon cancer doctor recommends will depend largely on the stage of your cancer. The three primary treatment options are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Our Approach

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we have experience in treating all forms of colon cancer. Our team consists of many highly trained specialists, including pathologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons and supportive care providers – all of whom exclusively treat patients with gastrointestinal malignancies.

Moffitt’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Program makes it possible for patients to meet with our experts in a single, convenient location, with or without referrals. Here, patients can access some of the latest developments in treatment, including laparoscopic surgery, microsurgery, chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy, chemoembolization, vaccine therapy, brachytherapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). Our patients can also participate in cutting-edge clinical trials through which they can receive novel therapies under the supervision of a skilled oncology team before those therapies are widely available in other settings.

Moffitt Cancer Center’s expert oncologists can help you learn more about the different options for colon cancer and provide you with detailed information that is specific to your precise diagnosis. There’s no need to request a referral to schedule an appointment; call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.