Why should I choose Henry Ford for colorectal cancer treatment?
We treat the most complex cases, with a range of advanced treatment options:
- Our team continually works to develop new treatments through cancer research and cancer clinical trials.
- We are one of the country’s most experienced programs for stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), which precisely targets colorectal cancer that has spread.
- We offer a range of minimally invasive options for colorectal cancer surgery to promote faster healing and speed recovery. One potential option is robotic-assisted surgery, with Henry Ford among a select group of robotic surgery epicenters in the U.S.
- We provide access to innovative clinical trials that test new therapies not yet widely available. Our team is the first in the country to perform a clinical trial procedure designed to help patients undergoing gastrointestinal resection from colorectal cancer treatment. The procedure uses an intraluminal device that is temporarily inserted into the gastrointestinal tract to reduce the need for an ostomy bag, eliminating additional surgery and recovery for the patient. Henry Ford is the only site in Michigan, and one of a select few throughout the country, currently enrolling colorectal cancer patients in this clinical trial.
Surgery for colorectal cancer
Surgery is the primary treatment for many colorectal cancers. We perform most colorectal surgery for cancer without the need for an ostomy, or surgically created opening for waste. If an ostomy is needed, we provide complete ostomy care. Since the rectum can’t be replaced, we try to preserve its function whenever possible.
Our colorectal surgical treatments include:
- Robotic surgery: We use robotic surgery to treat the delicate tissues of the colon and rectum with great precision. We are one of the most experienced robotic surgery centers in the U.S.
- Laparoscopic surgery: Our surgeons use smaller incisions than with traditional surgery. Patients have a lower risk of complications, less pain after surgery and faster recovery.
- Transanal microsurgery (TEM): We use this procedure to remove certain types of polyps and tumors with no incisions.
- Specialized polyp removal: Our gastroenterologists (digestive tract specialists) are skilled at removing complicated polyps that may turn into cancer.
- Fecal incontinence surgery: An inability to control bowel movements sometimes happens during or after cancer treatment. We offer FDA-approved treatments to help you avoid this problem.
- Transanal total mesorectal excision (TaTME): We remove the tumor and part of the bowel. We are the only program in Michigan offering this procedure for rectal cancer.
- Sphincter-preserving surgery: This option allows some patients to avoid a permanent ostomy after rectal surgery.
Chemotherapy and HIPEC for colorectal cancer
Our medical oncologists use chemotherapy to treat many rectal cancers. We also recommend chemotherapy for more advanced colon cancer, though you may not need it for cancer that has progressed but not yet metastasized (spread).
Some chemotherapy drugs are swallowed as a pill while others are injected, given through an intravenous (IV) drip or applied in topical form.
We also offer a highly specialized treatment called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) for stage four colorectal cancer that has metastasized to the abdominal lining. We remove the tumor, then apply heated chemotherapy directly to the area where it formed.
Radiation therapy for colorectal cancer
We offer external beam radiation therapy for colorectal cancer, which delivers radiation from a device outside the body. Radiation therapy is commonly combined with surgery for many rectal cancers and can provide an option for colorectal cancer that has spread.
Our radiation treatments include:
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT): SBRT delivers a few high-dose treatments of radiation directly at small tumors to destroy them while avoiding healthy tissue. We were one of the first centers in Michigan to use SBRT, and we remain the most experienced team in the state.
- Image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT): IGRT combines imaging technology with radiation treatment. We capture images of the tumor with a CT (computed tomography) scan or X-ray before each radiation treatment. We use the images to measure the tumor precisely and minimize the radiation that reaches normal cells.
- 3-D conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT): Advanced imaging technology precisely targets radiation to the size and shape of the tumor. This technique spares surrounding healthy tissue.
- Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT): A special type of 3D-CRT sends small “beamlets” of radiation that adapt to the three-dimensional size and shape of tumors.