Comprehensive Colorectal Cancer Care
Catholic Health Cancer Institutes across Long Island offer clinical excellence in colorectal cancer care–from early detection screenings to diagnosis and the latest advances in treatments for colorectal cancer, including surgical procedures.
St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® is rated by U.S. News & World Report as high performing in colon cancer surgery.
Risk Factors & Signs/Symptoms
If you are at increased risk for colorectal cancer, an early detection screening can help identify any problems in the most treatable stages. Talk to your physician to determine the age you should begin screening and how often testing should be repeated.
Your risk for colorectal cancer goes up if you have:
- Inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease
- Family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- Family history of a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome
- Personal history of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
- A change in your bowel habits, including diarrhea, constipation or a difference in the consistency of your stool
- A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
- Excessive weakness or fatigue
- Persistent abdominal discomfort such as gas, cramps or pain
- Rectal bleeding or blood in your stool
- Unexplained weight loss
Importance of Early Detection
Colon cancer starts in the large intestine in the lower part of your digestive system, called the colon. Rectal cancer is cancer that develops in the last several inches of your colon. Together, they're referred to as colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in American men and women. It's important to detect colorectal cancer in its earliest stages when it’s most treatable. Regular early detection screenings can help prevent colon cancer by identifying polyps (a mass of tissue that develops on the inside wall of a hollow organ like the colon) before they become cancerous.
Catholic Health radiologists use diagnostic imaging for pinpoint accuracy in the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer. We offer low-dose computerized tomography scans and other options to look for colorectal cancer before it has a chance to spread.
Diagnostic Options for Colorectal Cancer
Your physician will perform a physical exam to check for lumps, pain and tenderness in your abdomen. They will use a lubricated, gloved finger to perform a digital rectal exam to detect any lumps or unusual growths. Blood tests check for anemia, assess your liver function and provide other valuable clues to your condition.
A colonoscopy is a procedure that allows your physician to view inside your colon and rectum to look for polyps, abnormal growths or cancer. The process uses a long, thin, flexible tube called a colonoscope attached to a video camera and monitor. It may also include a tool for removing tissue samples or polyps to test them for cancer signs. These instruments are inserted through your rectum and into your colon.
CT scans and X-rays show detailed images of different structures and areas inside your body. They are often used to determine if cancer cells have spread.
CT colonography is also called a virtual colonoscopy. The procedure uses a series of low-dose CT scans to take pictures of the inside of your colon. A computer pieces the pictures together into dimensional images to create a detailed view that reveals any polyps or other abnormalities.
A double-contrast barium enema is also called a lower GI series. The procedure uses a liquid inserted into your rectum that contains a metallic compound called barium to improve visibility and highlight problem areas in your lower gastrointestinal tract.
A fecal occult blood test checks your stool for hidden blood that’s only visible with a microscope. Although colorectal cancer does not always cause bleeding, blood in the stool can indicate colorectal cancer.
A flexible sigmoidoscopy uses a thin tube fitted with a light and a camera to look inside your rectum and sigmoid or lower colon. The instrument may also have a tool to remove tissue samples or polyps if found during the procedure.
Our Team and Approach
If colon cancer is detected, Catholic Health colon cancer specialists tailor a treatment plan based on diagnosis and your preferences. We can treat for early-stage colon cancer, invasive colon cancer or advanced colon cancer.
Our multidisciplinary approach gives you access to a team of compassionate cancer specialists, including board-certified oncologists, colorectal surgeons and gastroenterologists as well as registered nurse navigators and infusion/chemotherapy nurses.
At Catholic Health, we care for you body, mind and soul. Our social workers and spiritual care staff can provide comfort and support to you and your loved ones.
Clinical Excellence. Compassionate Care.
Cancer Prevention & Screening
Health screenings help with early diagnosis of colorectal cancer.
In partnership with Roswell Park, we offer the newest and most innovative treatments available only through clinical trials.
Catholic Health is committed to helping you on your journey to optimal wellness.