Colon cancer care at Mayo Clinic

Why choose Mayo Clinic for colorectal cancer

Amit Merchea, M.D., Colon and Rectal Surgery: There's a number of exciting things in the future for colorectal cancer care and research occurring at Mayo Clinic. These encompass new chemotherapeutics or immune therapies from surgical approaches. We're continuing to push the limits with robotic surgery and digital surgery using augmented reality and artificial intelligence. And this really helps enhance the care that we can deliver for patients with colorectal cancer.

David W. Larson, M.D., M.B.A., Colon and Rectal Surgery: Quality of life issues are a big issue for most patients. It is one of their number one questions. And we spend a lot of time educating the patient and trying to determine what their goals of quality of life are.

Shabana F. Pasha, M.D., Gastroenterology & Hepatology: So I think as Mayo Clinic physicians we are always available to answer questions, including making the decision whether or not a patient would benefit from a referral to Mayo Clinic. We usually request records for patients ahead of time. We preschedule tests and appointments, so if a patient needs a procedure, if they need to meet with the surgeon, again, if they need to meet with a genetic specialist, so all those tests are prescheduled wherein a patient can come in. If they are from out-of-state, they can fly in for a gastroenterology appointment, get all the necessary tests done and then return home.

Tanios Bekaii-Saab, M.D., F.A.C.P., Medical Oncology: I think that having a center that's focused on research, but research that's applied to patient care. And that's what Mayo does best, is a certainly a plus, a positive that ensures that patients have access to the most innovative and the latest and the greatest that can't be found anywhere on the planet.

Amit Merchea, M.D.: So I think patients to seek care at Mayo Clinic with colorectal cancer because we really offer the expertise in treating this. We are a high volume Cancer Center. Our outcomes with colorectal cancer set benchmarks across the country. And patients have high-quality, safe and effective care. I think for any patient who's seeking surgical treatment for colorectal cancer, it's important that they look at not just the surgeon as an individual but the team.

Tanios Bekaii-Saab, M.D.: And because of our integrated care, so a patient comes through the door for screening, if we find a polyp, or we find a cancer, that patient is meeting with the gastroenterologist and in no time with a surgeon, or the geneticists, with the medical oncologists if needed, and then anyone as part of the team. And that is quite unique. And that is why I think the care overall, the integrated level of care, at Mayo Clinic is certainly superior care.

For decades, Mayo Clinic has been a world leader in providing comprehensive, state-of-the-art care for people with cancers of the colon and rectum.

Your Mayo Clinic care team

Mayo Clinic doctors work in multidisciplinary teams of specialists to provide comprehensive care for people with colon cancer. Your care team might include:

Other health professionals also play an important role in your care. These experts may include:

  • Cancer education specialists
  • Nurses specially trained to work with cancer patients
  • Dietitians
  • Social workers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physical therapists

Members of your care team spend time getting to know you, so they understand what's important to you. The result is a treatment plan that puts you at the center of the care you receive.

Your personal physician at Mayo Clinic will work with you to review your treatment options and choose the treatment that best suits your needs and goals. The range of treatments offered to people with colon and rectal cancer includes chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy and a variety of operations, including minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery.

Molecular profiling of tumors using a next-generation sequencing approach and screening all for potential immunotherapy options are standard parts of colon cancer care at Mayo Clinic.

Mayo Clinic also offers palliative care services to help you manage the side effects of cancer treatment, as well as symptoms of cancer itself. Cancer survivorship clinics are available after cancer treatment ends. A cancer survivorship clinic may help you cope with the physical and emotional changes that sometimes appear after cancer treatment.

Advanced diagnosis and treatment

Mayo Clinic doctors and scientists have been at the forefront of colon cancer research for many years. They use knowledge and experience gained in research to improve care for people with colon cancer.

Similarly, the colon and rectal surgeons at Mayo Clinic draw on decades of cumulative experience treating colon cancer in a high-volume practice. They specialize in removal (resection) of complex tumors affecting multiple organs and structures in the abdomen and pelvis.

Mayo Clinic doctors have access to the latest treatment techniques, including:

  • Minimally invasive surgery. During minimally invasive surgery, also called laparoscopic surgery, for colon cancer, several small incisions are made in the abdomen. Special tools and a camera are inserted through the incisions and allow the surgeon to remove the cancer without making one large incision. Colorectal surgeons at Mayo Clinic were among the earliest users of laparoscopic procedures for cancers of the colon and rectum. Today, colon cancer operations are performed using a minimally invasive approach when possible.
  • Robotic surgery. During robotic surgery, the surgeon sits at a console and uses controls to guide high-tech surgical tools. Robotic surgery has the advantage of allowing the surgeon to work more easily in small spaces and gives the surgeon an enhanced view of the area where the operation is taking place. At Mayo Clinic, the use of robotics has produced excellent outcomes in surgery for complex colorectal tumors involving multiple organs and structures in the pelvis.
  • Proton beam therapy. Mayo Clinic offers this advanced form of radiation therapy. The Proton Beam Therapy Program features intensity-modulated proton beam therapy with pencil beam scanning allowing radiation oncologists to destroy cancer while sparing healthy tissue.
  • Optimized adjuvant therapy. Researchers at Mayo Clinic led the first clinical trial of chemotherapy given after colon cancer surgery, called adjuvant chemotherapy, to reduce the risk of recurring disease. Mayo Clinic oncologists continue to study the best medicine combinations and treatment lengths to make adjuvant therapy most effective and minimize the side effects.
  • Innovative treatments for liver metastases. Mayo Clinic offers the latest treatments for colon cancer that spreads to the liver. This includes a hepatic artery infusion pump. The pump is a device that's placed inside the body during surgery. It delivers chemotherapy medicines directly to the liver. Surgery to implant the pump can be done at the same time as surgery to remove the cancer from the colon or the liver. Giving medicine directly to the liver lets doctors use higher doses of chemotherapy. It can help people with liver metastases live longer.

Expertise and rankings

Mayo Clinic doctors have the knowledge and resources to provide comprehensive care for those with colon cancer. At Mayo Clinic, you can expect:

  • Personalized care. At Mayo Clinic, gastroenterologists, colon and rectal surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists work as a team to make sure all of your needs are addressed in your care plan. Other experts are included as needed.
  • Experience you can trust. Mayo Clinic doctors are highly respected for their expertise in diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer. Mayo Clinic doctors care for more than 4,000 people with colon cancer each year.
  • Nationally recognized expertise. Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center meets the strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center. These standards recognize scientific excellence and a multispecialty approach focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, ranks No. 1 for digestive disorders in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, are ranked among the Best Hospitals for digestive disorders by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Rochester is ranked the No. 1 hospital in Minnesota, and the five-state region of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2023–2024 "Best Children's Hospitals" rankings.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, and Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, are ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report.

Locations, travel and lodging

Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.

For more information on visiting Mayo Clinic, choose your location below:

Costs and insurance

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people.

In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals, or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Learn more about appointments at Mayo Clinic.

Please contact your insurance company to verify medical coverage and to obtain any needed authorization prior to your visit. Often, your insurer's customer service number is printed on the back of your insurance card.

More information about billing and insurance:

Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota

Mayo Clinic Health System

July 27, 2023

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