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You will face many hard decisions if a loved one or you have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Including several questions like where should you go for treatment? What are the available treatment options? How to maintain your quality of life? We have tried to describe these concerns, the types, and possible treatment, which will help you decide.

What Is Colorectal Cancer?

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Cancer that develops in the inner lining of the large intestine (colon) or rectum present in the lower portion of the digestive tract is called colorectal cancer. It is estimated that 1 in 21 men and 1 in 23 women in the US will develop colorectal cancer in their lifetime. Advanced screening techniques and improved treatments have helped in the efficient screening of this cancer in susceptible people, and the death rate due to colorectal cancer is declining. Most cancers of the colon or rectum start as a growth, called a polyp, in the tissue lining these organs. If left untreated, some polyps, not all, become cancerous over many years. Try out MSKCC's various Colorectal Cancer (Prediction Tools) nomograms!

What Are the Types of Colorectal Cancer?

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  • Adenocarcinoma - It is cancer that develops in the mucus-producing cells present inside the colon and rectum. This is the most common type of colorectal cancer.
  • Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors - These start from special hormone-making cells in the intestine.
  • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GISTs) - These tumors develop in the interstitial cells of Cajal, which are special cells in the wall of the colon, some of which are benign.
  • Lymphomas - Tumors of the immune system cells can also develop in the colon, rectum, or other organs.
  • Sarcomas - Tumors that develop in the soft tissues, such as blood vessels, muscles, or connective tissues in the colon and rectum.

What Are the Treatment Options for Colorectal Cancer?

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MSKCC experts determine the type of colorectal cancer and its stage through biopsy and other tests. Depending on the results, the doctor might suggest surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or a combination of therapies. Patients can also benefit from the thousands of clinical trials ongoing at MSKCC that explore new therapies.

MSKCC’s Surgeons and Experts

  • Philip C. Caron, MD, PhD
    Philip C. Caron, MD, PhD Clinical Expertise: Hematologic Malignancies (Hodgkin Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia [CLL])
  • Andrea Cercek, MD
    Andrea Cercek, MD Clinical Expertise: Colon Cancer; Rectal Cancer; Anal Cancer; Appendiceal Cancer; Peritoneal Mesothelioma; Young Onset Colorectal Cancer
  • Sree Bhavani Chalasani, MD
    Sree Bhavani Chalasani, MD Clinical Expertise: Gastrointestinal Cancers (Colon, Rectal, Anal, Gallbladder, and Stomach Cancers); Hepatobiliary Cancers
  • Leonard Saltz, MD
    Leonard Saltz, MD Clinical Expertise: Colorectal Cancer; Carcinoid Tumors; Islet Cell Carcinomas; Other Neuroendocrine Tumors; Other Gastrointestinal Cancers (Esophageal, Gastric, Pancreatic, Liver, Gallbladder, Bile Duct, Anal); Unknown Primary Tumors; New Investigational Agents
  • Martin R. Weiser, MD
    Martin R. Weiser, MD Clinical Expertise: Colon and Rectal Cancer Surgery; Anal Cancer; Appendiceal Cancer; Minimally Invasive Surgery
  • Rona Yaeger, MD
    Rona Yaeger, MD Clinical Expertise: Colorectal Cancer; Gastrointestinal Malignancies