Treatment for Colorectal Cancer

At Fox Chase Cancer Center, our multidisciplinary medical team works closely to accurately diagnose your colorectal cancer and help you understand your options so that you can make an informed decision about your treatment. As a regional and national leader in cancer care, Fox Chase Cancer Center has a wealth of experience treating all types of colorectal cancer.

Our skilled gastrointestinal oncology team meets regularly to review patient cases and map out a personalized treatment plan. We strive to treat your cancer in the least invasive way possible using innovative surgical techniques and combination therapies that give you the best chance of a successful outcome.

Our doctors are also actively involved in developing new therapies for treating colorectal cancer. Through clinical trials, we are able to offer our patients access to promising treatments and experimental therapies that may not be available elsewhere. Ask your Fox Chase doctor if a clinical trial is right for you.

Your Treatment Options

Treatment for colorectal cancer depends on the stage, type, and grade of your tumor; whether it has invaded other tissues; and your age, health history, and personal goals. Your personalized treatment plan will be created after consultations with multiple physicians within our multidisciplinary team and may include a combination of one or more of the following treatment options.


Surgery can be an effective method in addressing colorectal cancer and other colon and rectal conditions. Options include:

  • Sphincter-sparing, pelvic nerve-preserving surgery for rectal cancer performed by Fox Chase surgeons, a technique that avoids the need for colostomy.
  • Minimally-invasive colon surgery, including laparoscopic, single-incision laparoscopic, and robotic surgery, may result in faster recovery and less pain while providing the same results as traditional surgery.
  • Minimally-invasive rectal surgery, including laparoscopic and robotic resection, allows surgeons to remove certain tumors using smaller incisions, which results in less pain and faster recovery while providing the same results as traditional surgery.
  • Surgical treatment of ulcerative colitis, which affects the lining of the colon and rectum, and hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes.

Gastrointestinal surgeons at Fox Chase Cancer Center are regional and national leaders in performing complex surgeries for patients with colorectal cancer.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy may be used to treat colorectal cancer to shrink tumors prior to surgery, prevent recurrence after surgery, alleviate pain, or treat disease that has spread.  Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT) and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) are used to spare normal tissue from the effects of radiation therapy and to maximize the amount of radiation that can be delivered safely.

Radiation therapy is administered by Fox Chase radiation oncologists, who were the first in the region to integrate the CT Scan and MRI into treatment planning. Fox Chase Cancer Center is a regional and national leader in the use of cutting-edge techniques in radiation therapy to treat patients with many different types of cancer.

Systemic Therapy

The medical oncologists at Fox Chase Cancer Center are regional and national leaders in the treatment of colorectal cancer. As part of the multidisciplinary team, your medical oncologist will help to determine your personalized treatment plan, which may include systemic therapies such as targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or chemotherapy either as standard of care or as part of a clinical trial.

Systemic therapy may be given before or after surgery to patients with muscle invasive or locally advanced colorectal cancer. It may also be recommended to patients who are diagnosed after the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic cancer).

Clinical Trials

Fox Chase Cancer Center actively participates in a number of clinical trials for patients with colorectal cancer. In addition to receiving excellent care, our patients also benefit from the groundbreaking research that we do to expand our understanding of new colorectal cancer therapies and treatments. We encourage eligible patients to participate in clinical trials that are available and appropriate for their stage and type of colorectal cancer.

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