Colorectal Cancer Treatment Program

The Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancer is one of the largest and most experienced centers in New England for the treatment of cancers of the colon and rectum.
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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)
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • 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

Medical Oncology

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.

Learn more about colorectal cancer surgery. 

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.

Meet the Team

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.

See our multidisciplinary team of colorectal cancer specialists


Patient Education

Information About Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells grow and multiply in the tissues of the colon or rectum. The National Cancer Institute reports it is the second-deadliest form of cancer in the United States.

Screening, Diagnosis and Staging

Screening for cancer means testing for something abnormal before it causes any symptoms. Tests used to screen for colorectal cancer include:

  • Colonoscopy
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Barium enema with air contrast

Colorectal cancer may be diagnosed through the tests and procedures mentioned above as well as:

  • Digital rectal examination
  • Biopsy
  • Blood count
  • Various imaging tests

Imaging tests, surgery and X-rays are among the common approaches for staging colorectal cancer. Stages range from Stage I (early stage) to Stage IV (advanced).

Colorectal Cancer Treatment

Your treatment plan will depend on factors such as type and stage of colorectal cancer, your general health, and your preferences. Colon cancer treatment or rectal cancer treatment may involve one or more of these options:

  • Colorectal surgery may be traditional (open) or minimally invasive (such as an endoscopy procedure or sphincter-sparing rectal cancer surgery)
  • Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation beams to kill or shrink tumors while sparing healthy tissue
  • Chemotherapy kills cancer cells through the use of intravenous or oral drugs
  • Targeted therapy targets and interferes with the activity of specific proteins that drive tumor growth and spread
  • Clinical trials may provide access to new and promising therapies for colorectal cancer

Learn more about Colorectal Cancer

Clinical Trials

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.

Find clinical trials for colorectal cancer.

Find Targeted Therapy Trials for colorectal cancer.


Contact Us

Cancer Center

  • Phone: 617-726-5130
Request an Appointment Request a Remote Second Opinion

Talk to an access nurse today 877-726-5130

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