Colorectal Cancer Program
The Colorectal Cancer Program at Huntington Hospital provides a comprehensive array of diagnostic, surgical, medical oncology, radiation oncology and colorectal support services.
Screening and Diagnostic Radiology
As with most cancers, early detection dramatically improves colorectal cancer survival rates. The Centers for Disease Control currently estimates that one-third of the deaths from colon cancer could be prevented if people would comply with screening recommendations. Screening and diagnostic service options include:
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy Double contrast barium enema
- CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy)
- Preoperative staging with endorectal ultrasound, 3T MRI and PET/CT
Surgical Expertise Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures
Huntington Hospital’s fellowship-trained, board-certified colorectal surgeons utilize the most advanced surgical techniques available, including open, laparoscopic, microscopic and robotic surgery. Colorectal surgical procedures include:
- Endoscopic microsurgery (TEM) for early rectal cancer, allowing for excision of rectal cancer through an operating microscope placed through the anus (no abdominal incisions)
- Low anterior resection with total mesorectal excision (TME) and autonomic nerve preservation to ensure lower recurrence rates and better postoperative sexual and urinary function
- Colonic reservoir reconstruction for better postoperative bowel function
- Ultralow anterior resection for anal sphincter muscle preservation
Medical and Radiation Oncology
Studies indicate that preoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy are associated with improved survival, decreased recurrence rates, and higher rates of anal sphincter preservation. Huntington Hospital is affiliated with several medical oncology groups with board-certified hematologists and medical oncologists with a great deal of experience in colorectal cancer treatment.
The cancer center’s board-certified radiation oncologists specialize in colorectal cancer care, and can provide all of the current techniques for radiation therapy for colorectal, including 3-D reconstruction treatment planning with cone-beam CT and multi-leaf collimators, and two new state-of-the-art linear accelerators to deliver intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and image guided radiotherapy (IGRT), allowing a more precise delivery of radiotherapy with avoidance of normal tissue which can minimize treatment side effects.
The Colorectal Multidisciplinary Tumor Board gathers regularly to review and formulate recommendations for the treatment of our colorectal cancer patients according to NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) guidelines. The board consists of a team of specialists, including radiologists, surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, psychologists, social workers, clinical trial coordinators and nurse navigators.
Colorectal cancer support services include specially trained registered nurse navigators who follow patients through diagnosis, treatment and beyond. In addition, the Huntington Hospital Cancer Center provides psychosocial support, including a support group, psychological counseling with licensed clinical social workers, and referral to psychologists specializing in the care of cancer patients, if needed. The Huntington Hospital Cancer Center also has a registered dietitian who is certified in oncology and evaluates the cancer patient to make sure their dietary needs are being met. There are also specially trained pain and symptom management nurse coordinators available for cancer patients’ ongoing care and support.
Adapting to life with an ostomy can be challenging. Huntington Hospital established an ostomy clinic in 2009 to assist patients and their families in coping with ostomy care. Specially trained ostomy nurses provide education on daily maintenance of temporary and permanent stomas, ensuring both patients and their families are comfortable and secure with every aspect of ostomy care. In addition, they assist patients in dealing with the emotional issues surrounding life with an ostomy.
For more information please contact (626) 397-2531.