Colorectal Cancer Overview
WellStar Health System provides superior care for colorectal cancer, offering a comprehensive spectrum of top-notch physicians, treatment options and diagnostic tools. In addition WellStar offers such innovative advantages in the fight against colorectal cancer, including:
- Dedicated colorectal surgeons, who practice state-of-the-art care in a collegial atmosphere, as well as medical oncologists with special interest in colorectal cancer
- Cutting edge technology including the CyberKnife, a highly advanced radiation alternative to surgery that provides new hope to patients with inoperable or complex tumors. WellStar was the first health system in Georgia to adopt this technology.
- The entire spectrum of diagnostic and interventional treatments – including colonoscopy, laparoscopic surgery and other surgery to remove pre-cancerous and cancerous growths. .
- Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), a treatment that allows for the radiation to be tailored to the size and placement of the tumor, while sparing healthy tissue.
- A GI Tumor Board, which meets weekly to present patient cases and craft a personalized treatment plan. The conference is attended by medical oncology, radiation oncology, radiology, pathology, and a team of surgeons including specially trained liver and pancreas surgeons, colorectal surgeons and general surgeons specializing in minimally invasive surgery.
- Clinical trials – enrolling over 200 patients annually in WellStar programs
Colorectal cancer, or cancer of the colon or the rectum, is one of the most commonly occurring cancers in the United States. Colon cancer, which forms in the tissue of the longest part of the large intestine, afflicts about 102,900 people a year. Rectal cancer, which forms in the tissues of the last several inches of the large intestine, or the rectum, will be diagnosed in about 39,670 people a year. Colorectal cancer will claim about 51,370 lives. However, researchers have made huge strides in recent years in the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer.
While some of these symptoms can also be signs of something far less serious, it is important to see your WellStar physician if any of these symptoms persist for more than two weeks. Symptoms of colorectal cancer include:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Blood in your stool
- A stool that is more narrow than normal
- A feeling that your bowel does not empty entirely
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequent cramps or gas
- Unexplained weight loss
Risk factors for colorectal cancer include:
- Eating a diet high in fat and low in calcium
- Having a close family member with colorectal cancer
- A history of polyps