Colorectal cancer treatment

What if you could get state-of-the-art, patient-centered care for colorectal cancer close to home? Now you can, at Edward-Elmhurst Health. Our difference starts before you even begin treatment.

We offer genetic counseling and testing to help assess your personal and family risk of colorectal cancer. Genetic counseling can also help you make decisions about how to treat colorectal cancer after you’ve been diagnosed.

We provide the latest diagnostic tools to accurately diagnose and stage colorectal cancer. Then, our multidisciplinary team of cancer experts meet to review your diagnosis. We share information and outline the most appropriate treatment approach for you. We hold these multidisciplinary conferences weekly to discuss the progress of your treatment.

Our colorectal cancer experts offer a full range of interventions to eradicate colon and/or rectal cancer. We actively participate in clinical trials to stay on top of the latest approaches. We’ll customize your treatment directly to your individual needs and support you through every aspect of your care.

Colorectal cancer diagnosis & staging

Our experts provide the latest in colorectal cancer diagnostics, including:

  • Colonoscopy – A long, flexible, lighted tube with a tiny camera attached to the end is inserted into the rectum. We use colonoscopy to examine the inner lining of the colon and rectum.
  • Advanced endoscopy – We use innovative imaging guidance and minimally invasive endoscopic procedures to diagnose, stage and treat colorectal cancer. Endoscopy can examine hard-to-reach organs inside the body, such as the rectum.
    • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) – We can use this high-resolution imaging technology to capture interior images of organs, detect potential tumors and stage rectal cancer.
  • 3 Tesla (3T) MRI – A type of wide-bore MRI, this machine has a stronger magnetic field for better image clarity, creating  clear, high-quality 2D and 3D images, while providing greater patient comfort. With more space around the head, patients have plenty of breathing room.

Colorectal cancer surgery

Our colorectal surgeons and surgical oncologists provide innovative surgical procedures for colorectal cancer, from transanal resections to minimally invasive procedures, such as robotics and laparascopic surgery, to complex staged hepatic resections. Your surgeon will discuss these options with you and work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan.

We offer one of the most advanced surgical technologies available — the da Vinci® Surgical System. Da Vinci robotic surgery offers a minimally invasive alternative for treating colorectal cancer.

With da Vinci, your surgeon uses hand controls to guide robotic arms holding laparoscopic surgical instruments. The robotic "wrists" can rotate a full 360 degrees, providing access to hard-to-reach areas of the body and unprecedented accuracy, flexibility and range of motion. Compared with traditional open surgery for colorectal cancer, da Vinci requires only a few tiny incisions and greater precision, often allowing patients to recover sooner.

Our surgical oncology team will take time to listen to you and talk about what you can expect from surgery. Then we’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your personal goals.

Our Chicagoland surgical oncologists are skilled in colorectal cancer surgery, including:

  • Colectomy, including open and laparascopic-assisted colectomy
  • Colostomy
  • Polypectomy
  • Local transanal resection
  • Low anterior resection
  • Prototectomy with colo-anal anastomosis
  • Abdomino-perineal resection
  • Pelvic exenteration
  • Colostomy
  • Laparoscopic minimally-invasive resection
  • Robotic surgery, including da Vinci® Surgical System
  • Complex staged hepatic resections

Colorectal cancer chemotherapy

Our colorectal cancer experts use advanced molecular testing to customize chemotherapy to your individual needs. We test a small amount of tissue to examine the tumor at a molecular level and determine how likely you will benefit from chemotherapy — before you get it. This helps reduce unpleasant and unnecessary side effects.

For eligible colorectal cancer patients, we offer an innovative treatment called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), which combines cancer surgery, chemotherapy and heat into a single procedure that kills cancer cells in the abdomen.

This combination surgery is performed by only a handful of surgical oncologists in the Chicagoland area, including George Salti, M.D., an experienced Chicago HIPEC surgeon and one of the country’s leading experts on the procedure.

Colorectal cancer immunotherapy

Some colorectal cancer patients benefit from immunotherapy, sometimes in combination with other treatments like chemotherapy and surgery. Immunotherapy drugs are designed to help the body's immune system better recognize colorectal cancer cells and destroy them.

Targeted therapy for colorectal cancer

With genomic testing, we can tailor your colorectal cancer treatment specifically to your needs. We collect a tissue sample during a biopsy, and then test the tissue for certain markers to see if you would benefit from targeted therapy.

Targeted therapies, such as monoclonal antibody therapy, are designed to block the growth and spread of colorectal cancer by attacking colorectal cancer cells specifically, which results in less side effects. We may combine targeted drug therapy with chemotherapy and other colorectal cancer treatments.

Colorectal cancer radiation therapy

Our radiation oncologists offer advanced radiation technologies to target colorectal cancer, including options for patients who have inoperable or surgically complex tumors.

For instance, CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System is a state-of-the-art radiation therapy technology that delivers precise beams of high-dose radiation to areas where traditional radiation would be too damaging to the surrounding tissue.

Since the liver is the most common site of metastases from colorectal cancer, we also offer advanced minimally invasive options for liver metastases, including Y-90 radioembolization, which combines embolization and radiation therapy.

Colorectal cancer care team

At Edward-Elmhurst Health, you have a multidisciplinary team of colorectal cancer experts working for you, including, but not limited to:

  • Surgical, medical and radiation oncologists
  • Advanced GI endoscopist
  • Interventional radiologist
  • Geneticist
  • Pathologist
  • Radiologist
  • Patient navigator (nurse)
  • Social worker

Meet our colorectal cancer experts

Colorectal cancer nurse navigators

Nurse navigators assist you and your family immediately following diagnosis all the way through treatment and into survivorship. You’ll have a direct phone number to call your nurse navigator any time.

Your nurse navigator can help you better understand your diagnosis and treatment options, answer questions, advocate for you, schedule your appointments and help coordinate care between your physician, surgeon and other support services. They also partner with social workers to handle everything from paperwork for financial issues to disability information.

Colorectal cancer support

Edward-Elmhurst Health offers a variety of support services to help you through your colorectal cancer journey. We can connect you with different colorectal cancer organizations and patients. We even offer programs for your family members. Social work and palliative care support is readily available full time in the cancer center.

Colorectal cancer survivorship

Our support continues after your colorectal cancer treatment is complete. We’ll meet with you and provide a survivorship care plan so you know what to watch for and when to contact us should you have any concerns. Your plan will include ongoing surveillance (scans, labs, visits, etc.).