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Colorectal cancer

When polyps in the lower digestive tract (the colon and rectum) become cancerous. this is called colorectal cancer. It is often treated with chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. Colonoscopy screenings identify potential polyps and help you get treated sooner and more effectively.

Colorectal cancer surgeons in Florida

Nothing can prepare you for a cancer diagnosis.

However, should you or a loved one receive that news, just remember you have options—and an entire healthcare network that’s here to offer all the support, strength and advanced care you need to move forward. As a fully integrated network of care, HCA Florida Healthcare is able to bring together some of the best minds and the most appropriate resources to treat your cancer. We provide you with personalized, comprehensive treatment that is seamlessly coordinated throughout your care—from diagnosis through recovery. 

Related Specialties

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Our Treatments & Services

We offer a variety of services dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer.

Screening for colorectal cancer

Prevention and early detection are your best defenses against colon cancer. Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare, recommends people with average risk who are 45 years old and older have a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years or a colonoscopy every 10 years. Depending on your risk, however, there are alternative tests, so we encourage you to talk to your doctor about what is right for you.

Colorectal cancer is considered to be one of the most preventable, treatable and survivable cancers there is — but generally only when detected early.


The most common and effective way to screen for colorectal cancer is through a colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy, a thin, flexible tube attached to a camera is inserted into the rectum.

This allows doctors to gain a detailed view of the colon and catch any signs of cancer early. A colonoscopy usually takes about 30 minutes and patients are typically provided a moderate sedative.

Other colorectal cancer screening tools

Additional screenings for colorectal cancer include:

  • Barium enema with contrast (double-contrast barium enema)
  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
  • Fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy (typically every five years)
  • Stool DNA (typically every three years)
  • Virtual colonoscopy

Treatment options for colorectal cancer

Treating cancer is a collaborative process. Just as our oncologists, specialists and other experts work with each other, we work with you, to make you feel comfortable, confident and optimistic about the road ahead.

Together, we'll build a personalized treatment plan that we feel offers the best outcome and that you feel works for you and your family.

This may include:

Our colorectal cancer teams

A hospital is only as good as its people. How many specialists do they have on staff that have years of experience treating the exact condition you have? With HCA Florida, you don’t just have access to a handful of providers. You have access to everyone throughout our entire healthcare network.

We're able to assemble just the right team, with just the right skill set, to bring you a level of cancer care you can't find anywhere else.

Our teams include specialized:

  • Colorectal surgeons
  • Gastroenterologists
  • Genetic counselors
  • Medical oncologists
  • Oncology nurse navigators
  • Pathologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Radiologists
  • Surgical oncologists

Understanding colorectal cancer

Being knowledgeable about the risk factors and symptoms of colorectal cancer is important to help safeguard your colorectal health.

Colorectal cancer risk factors

Some factors can put you at a higher risk for developing colorectal cancer. Talk to your doctor about when you should begin screenings if any of the following risk factors apply to you:

  • A personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
  • A personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Diets high in red meat and low in produce
  • Drinking more than one drink a day (women) or two drinks a day (men)
  • Getting less than 30 minutes of physical activity a day
  • Having Type 2 diabetes
  • Inherited colon cancer syndromes, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) and hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) (also known as Lynch syndrome)
  • Smoking
  • Additionally, certain racial and ethnic backgrounds — including African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews — have a higher risk of colorectal cancer

Signs and symptoms of colon cancer

Patients may not always show signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer, or they may mimic symptoms of common gastrointestinal (GI) conditions.

However, colorectal cancer symptoms can include:

  • A feeling that your bowel does not empty completely
  • Blood (either bright red or very dark) in your stool
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent gas pains or cramps
  • Frequently feeling full or bloated
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Weight loss with no known reason

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