Cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer, and cancer that begins in the rectum is called rectal cancer. Cancer that starts in either of these organs may also be called colorectal cancer.
In the United States, colorectal cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men, after skin cancer, prostate cancer, and lung cancer. It is also the fourth most common cancer in women, after skin cancer, breast cancer, and lung cancer.
At Arizona Oncology, we understand that a new diagnosis of either colon cancer or rectal cancer can be overwhelming. Our team of experts will arrange your consultation quickly so you can get the information you need. We will help you and your family, make individualized treatment decisions in partnership with our medical team. During this process, you will gain the knowledge and confidence to help manage your cancer and continue with routine activities of daily life.
Review this section's important information about colorectal cancer diagnosis, staging, and treatment options, as well as colon cancer patient and survivor resources as you prepare for an appointment with your oncologist. After reviewing these sections, ask your cancer care team any additional questions that you may have about your individual situation.
Colon & Rectal Cancer Diagnosis
Colorectal cancer screening is recommended for everyone starting at age 45 using one or more common tests. (Maybe sooner if are you have certain risk factors.) If the results of the cancer screening tests show suspicion of colon or rectal cancer, further tests will likely be required. There are several steps in the diagnosis process including:
- Physical Exam
- Blood Tests
- Imaging Tests
Staging Colorectal Cancers
If you receive a colon or rectal cancer diagnosis you’ll be referred to an oncologist who will plan treatment based on the stage of the cancer, which ranges from Stage 0 to Stage IV. They will evaluate the current test results and may request some additional tests to determine the stage -- or how far the cancer has spread. These tests might include:
- Blood tests
- Endorectal ultrasound
- Chest X-ray
- CT scan
Colon & Rectal Cancer Treatment Options
Based on the stage, your overall health, and other factors of your colon or rectal cancer, you and your cancer care team will discuss options for your treatment. Those options can include:
- Biologic Therapy
- Radiation Therapy
The oncologists at Arizona Oncology will help you decide on a plan that’s right for you.
Colon Cancer Clinical Trials and Research in Arizona
As members of The US Oncology Network, Arizona Oncology is able to provide our community with access to new therapies throughout the state of Arizona. We have over 70 ongoing clinical trials at any given time that include research for colon and rectal cancers.
Search for rectal cancer or colon cancer clinical trials now available in Arizona.
Is Colon Cancer Hereditary?
You could be at risk of developing colorectal cancer if you have a family history of the disease.
Our cancer genetic experts at Arizona Oncology are here to guide you through cancer genetic counseling. Find out if you could benefit from genetic testing for hereditary colon cancer syndromes, and if you should take advantage of the Genetic Risk Evaluation & Testing Program.
Colorectal Cancer Support in Arizona
We encourage you to learn more and take advantage of our cancer support groups and disease-specific organizations, including the ColonCancer Alliance.