A colonoscopy is the primary and most effective screening technique used to screen patients for colorectal cancer. Learn more in this video from Dr. Ted Hong, GI Radiation Oncologist at the Mass General Cancer Center.
Mass General Cancer Center
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
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Explore the Colorectal Cancer Treatment Program
The Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers offers a collaborative and caring approach to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with confirmed or suspected colorectal cancer and is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
Expertise in Diagnosing and Staging Colorectal Cancer
Precise diagnosis, tumor characterization and staging (determining whether the cancer has spread) are the basis for designing the most appropriate treatment plan for you. Our GI cancer pathologists sub-specialize in colorectal tumors and are internationally recognized and consulted on the diagnosis of colon and rectal cancer. They share information about each patient’s unique cancer in weekly tumor board meetings to help guide treatment planning.
Our diagnostic radiology team are nationally recognized for expertise in using the most advanced imaging tools to diagnose and stage colorectal cancer and to detect tumor changes. Our imaging technologies include:
- High-speed two- and three-dimensional CT studies
- Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT)
- CT colonoscopy (virtual colonoscopy)
- Intraoperative Ultrasound
- Lymphotrophic Nanoparticle Enhanced MRI (Molecular Imaging)
- Other services include:
- Tumor perfusion imaging with CT and MRI
- Spectral imaging with CT
- 3D imaging for pre-surgical planning and for monitoring treatment effects
Chemotherapy can be the most effective treatment for patients with colorectal cancer. Some new therapies that are currently available or in development are designed to block mutations and pathways that cause tumor cells to proliferate. By targeting tumor gene mutations, these “smart drugs” are helping doctors to understand how to stop cancerous cells in some patients' tumors without using standard chemotherapy and radiation. Learn more about genetic testing and targeted therapies.
Excellence in Surgical Care
Our surgical team:
- Provides state-of-the-art evaluation, treatment and post-surgical services
- Are pioneers in leading-edge colorectal surgical procedures, including sphincter-sparing rectal cancer surgery, an innovative procedure that helps avoid permanent colostomies
- Performed the world’s first NOTES resection (Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery) of a rectal cancer, avoiding the need for any incisions
- Make each patient’s needs the key factor in choosing the best approach
We offer one of the few operating rooms specially designed to facilitate complex procedures, allowing multiple surgical subspecialists to work side-by-side.
In this video, Mass General provides its outcomes and performance data for colorectal surgery including rates of recovery and complications.
Our high volume of colectomies and proctectomies—and skilled team of highly rated colorectal surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and pathologists—help us to attain expected results in treating patients with conditions of the colon (large intestine). Patients at Mass General have fewer complications compared to the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) norms.
Pioneering Radiation Therapies
Our radiation oncologists use the most advanced therapies to treat colorectal cancer, many of which are available at only a few select hospitals. Radiation therapy may be given alone, or in combination with surgery and chemotherapy.
Multidisciplinary Patient Care
Our team approach ensures that every patient benefits from an individualized, coordinated and compassionate treatment plan, with care provided by leading experts from many specialties. We consider patients and their family and friends involved in their care to be part of this team. We are dedicated to ensuring that patients fully understand their diagnosis and treatment options. Depending on the stage and other characteristics of your colorectal cancer, your treatment plan may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of these therapies.
Your care team may include:
- Pathologists and diagnostic radiologists who sub-specialize in colorectal cancers to provide a precise diagnosis of your cancer, including any “tumor markers” that can help your care team determine the best treatment.
- Surgeons who specialize in the treatment of GI cancers who are leading the way in performing and developing the most advanced surgical approaches for colorectal cancer
- Gastroenterologists specializing in digestive health
- Endoscopists skilled in performing minimally-invasive interventional procedures
- Medical Oncologists who prescribe the most effective chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments
- Radiation Oncologists who specialize in delivering the optimal therapeutic dose while protecting healthy tissue
- Oncology nurses and nurse practitioners who care exclusively for patients with cancer
- Oncology psychiatrists, social workers and chaplains experienced in helping with the cognitive side effects of cancer and treatment, as well the emotional and spiritual aspects of the cancer experience
- A nutritionist to help you with questions about diet and nutrition during treatment
- Palliative care providers to improve quality of life
Members of your care team communicate regularly with you and your referring physician to ensure clear understanding and seamless coordination of care.
The Cancer Center is a leading provider of clinical trials in New England for colorectal cancers, making clinical trial evaluation of new therapies a key treatment option. The goal of clinical trials is to seek and answer scientific questions and to find better ways to prevent, diagnose or treat cancer. Current clinical trials for colorectal cancer include:
- Genetic evaluation for colon, gastric, esophageal and other GI cancers
- Targeted agents in combination with radiation for GI cancers.
Meet the Team
Meet our multidisciplinary team of colorectal cancer specialists.
- Clinical Director, Gastrointestinal Oncology
- Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
- Clinical Co-director; GI Cancer Center
- Director, Pancreas and Biliary Surgery Program
- Director, Gastrointestinal Service, Department of Radiation Oncology
Colorectal cancer is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells grow and multiply in the tissues of the colon or rectum.
We help identify families that may have a hereditary colon cancer syndrome.
A checklist of items to bring with you for your first visit and helpful information.
- Jul | 24 | 2020
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. A portion of these colon cancers are due to genetic predisposition genes. The Blum Center shares more in a recent presentation.
- Jan | 1 | 2020
Ted Hong, MD, radiation oncologist and avid hockey player explains how the Mass General Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary approach to developing care plans for patients is so beneficial to the patient. He also talks about his love for the game of hockey and the beauty of teamwork.