Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer, or colon cancer, is one of the few cancers we know how to prevent yet it's one of the leading causes of cancer death in the United States. Leading causes of colon cancer include changes to the DNA inside a person's cells but also lifestyle factors and conditions such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, a diet high in red meats and processed meats as well as heavy alcohol use and smoking. Women are just as likely as men to get colorectal cancer. If you smoke or are very overweight, you are also more at risk.

A routine colonoscopy (colon exam) can often detect colon polyps or abnormal growths in the large intestine, which can be easily removed before becoming cancerous. This routine exam is recommended for men and women starting at age 45, but people often put it off and polyps go undetected until cancer has formed and sometimes spread to other areas of the body. If you are worried about colon cancer but are concerned about getting a colonoscopy, be sure to read these frequently asked questions about colonoscopy and talk to your doctor about your concerns.

Symptoms of colon cancer

Many people with colon cancer experience no symptoms. Because colon polyps and potential cancer may go unnoticed for many years, it's even more important to get screened for colorectal problems on a regular basis. For those who develop symptoms, here are some possible indicators of colorectal cancer:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Bloating
  • Bowel movements narrower than usual
  • Colorectal bleeding (bloody stool or bowel movement)
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling like your bowel hasn't emptied completely
  • Frequent gas pains
  • Unexplained weight loss

These types of symptoms may indicate other conditions, not necessarily colorectal cancer. If you have a history of colon cancer in your family or you have symptoms that concern you, be sure to discuss it with a doctor.


Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC)


Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), also called heated chemotherapy, may be an option for people with late-stage cancer of the appendix or colon , or in some cases, ovarian or uterine cancer that has spread.

Transanal Hemorrhoidal Dearterialization


THD is usually an outpatient procedure that involves indentifying the arteries that are sending blood to the swollen areas and cutting off that blood supply with a clip or ligature.

Colorectal Surgery


Innovative treatments, high survival rates and low recurrence rates mean Main Line Health is leading the pack when it comes to treating colorectal cancer.



Chemotherapy is used to fight almost every type of cancer and is part of the comprehensive treatment plan created by our oncologists.

Radiation Therapy


Specialists at Main Line Health offer a variety of radiation therapies to help treat cancerous tumors while preserving healthy tissue.

Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery


Main Line Health surgeons were the first to perform local excision (removal) of rectal cancer using TEM after preoperative radiation, and we are one of two TEM training centers in the United States.


Genetics and Risk Assessment

Genetic evaluation is becoming an important part of personalized care, as many health conditions have a genetic basis and genetic test results can help to guide medical decisions. Our genetic counselors provide consultations related to cancer genetics, cardiovascular genetics and prenatal genetics.

Infectious Diseases

Main Line Health’s infectious disease specialists provide diagnosis, treatment and prevention of a variety of illnesses and infections.

Cancer Care

From diagnosis and throughout treatment, Main Line Health cancer specialists (oncologists) provide compassionate care for you and your loved ones through all stages of cancer treatment.


Main Line Health gastroenterology works to resolve digestive issues and GI conditions. Find the right solution for your digestive conditions at one of our Philadelphia locations.

Hematology and Blood Disorders

Whether you are fighting cancer or managing a blood disorder, the hematologists and oncologists at Main Line Health offer the comprehensive care you need.