Colorectal Cancer Prevention and Screening

Colorectal cancer — which includes cancers of the colon and rectum — is the third most common cancer in both men and women, and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US. Fortunately, 90 percent of colorectal cancer cases are curable if caught early. Regular colonoscopy screenings are essential for anyone over age 50. People under age 50 who are overweight, consume too much alcohol and tobacco, have a family history of cancer or a personal history of chronic inflammatory bowel disease may also be at an increased risk of GI cancer.

Screenings at Cadence Health include:

  • Colonoscopy – viewing the entire length of the colon with a flexible, lighted tube
  • Sigmoidoscopy – viewing a portion of the large intestine with a flexible, lighted tube
  • Biopsy – taking a small sample of tissue during a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy
  • Digital rectal exam (DRE)
  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Barium enema – used with X-ray

Ask your primary care physician for a referral for a colonoscopy if you are at risk. To make an appointment for your colonoscopy, please call central scheduling at 630.933.5000. TTY for the hearing impaired 630.933.4833.


Your specialized physician may stage your colorectal cancer using the following methods:

  • CT scan designed to specifically evaluate the colon and/or rectum
  • PET/CT scan
Cadence Health Cancer Video
Watch a Video: GI Cancer Treatment at Cadence Health The Cadence Health Gastrointestinal (GI) cancer team provides comprehensive cancer care for patients and families throughout the western suburbs of Chicago. The multidisciplinary care team is made up of doctors and nurses who specialize in GI cancer. And, Cadence Health is affiliated with Cleveland Clinic in medical oncology, bringing you the research and expertise from one of the nation's top ten cancer programs as ranked by U.S.News & World Report.

Colorectal Cancer Treatments

Your colorectal cancer treatment depends on your overall health, extent of the disease and your tolerance for various therapies. The sequence and combination of treatment will depend on the site and stage of your cancer.


The primary treatment for colorectal cancer is often surgical removal (called resection) of the cancerous portion and surrounding lymph nodes, along with a length of normal tissue on either side of the cancer. Cadence Health has specialized surgical oncologists who have expertise in metastatic colorectal cancer surgery including resection and ablation of the liver. Many of these surgeries can be done using a minimally invasive approach.

Radiation Therapy

External beam therapy sends high levels of radiation directly to the cancer cells.

  • Proton therapy — one of the most precise forms of radiation therapy, proton treatment can be precisely controlled so most of the radiation ends up directly in the tumor, reducing the risk of damage to surrounding healthy tissues and causing fewer short- and long-term side effects. It has been effective in treating certain types of colorectal cancer. Cadence Health is the first and only health system in Illinois and the ninth in the country to offer proton therapy.


Drugs are administered, either intravenously or orally, to interfere with the cancer cell’s ability to reproduce. Your experienced medical oncologist will determine the best combination of medications for your stage of cancer. If appropriate, the medical oncologists at Cadence Health may consult directly with the team at Cleveland Clinic to discuss your treatment options. Studies have shown that chemotherapy after surgery can increase the survival rate for patients with some stages of colorectal cancer. Chemotherapy can also help relieve symptoms of advanced cancer.


A specially trained interventional radiologist can perform a procedure in which anticancer drugs are administered directly into a tumor through its feeding blood supply, which allows for a higher concentration of the drug to be in contact with the tumor for a longer period of time.

Liver Targeted Therapies

A specialized interventional radiologist may use intra-arterial yttrium-90 radioembolization (commonly called Y-90) to radiate a liver tumor. Y-90 uses radioactive isotopes to deliver radiation directly to a tumor. This method may be used if your colorectal cancer has spread to the liver.

Palliative Medicine

Side effects from cancer treatment can impact your quality of life and your body’s ability to respond to treatment. Cadence Health is home to a diverse team of palliative medicine specialists who work with your oncologist to help relieve your pain and manage your symptoms. Cadence Health palliative medicine specialists:

  • Treat pain and other physical symptoms of cancer, such as fatigue, nausea, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, breathing difficulties, and weight loss
  • Treat emotional symptoms, such as depression and anxiety
  • Improve your body’s ability to tolerate cancer treatments
  • Help you better understand tests, procedures, and options
  • Guide you and those who care for you to helpful outside resources

From your initial diagnosis throughout your care, the palliative medicine team at Cadence Health can help you remain stronger in your fight against cancer and feel better, every step of the way.

Clinical Trials

You can participate in clinical trials, which focus on prevention and treatment options for colorectal cancer.

Genetic Testing

Certain kinds of cancer run in families. If you or your family members have had cancer before age 50 or two or more incidences of different types of cancer, or if you have had several family members diagnosed with cancer, you may want to consider genetic services.

If you have family members who have had colorectal cancer, learn more about Lynch syndrome testing Cadence-health-information.

Clinical Trials

Find out if there’s a clinical trial for your type of colorectal cancer currently in progress through Cadence Health. Your doctor can tell you if you are eligible. See the Cadence Health cancer clinical trials list.

Learn more about the benefits and guidelines for participating in a clinical trial from the National Cancer Institute*.

Know what questions to ask* when evaluating a clinical study at*, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

*By clicking on these websites, you are leaving the Cadence Health website. These websites are independent resources. Cadence Health does not operate or control the content of these websites.

Support Services for Colorectal Cancer

If you are battling colorectal cancer, LivingWell Cancer Resource Center can be a vital component of your treatment and recovery. LivingWell serves as a gathering place providing comfort and community to anyone experiencing the effects of cancer. The LivingWell staff works to ensure that you and your family feel less isolated, better informed, more hopeful and empowered to take on the challenge of facing cancer.

LivingWell services include more than 60 free-of-charge programs including educational classes, support and networking groups, exercise classes, counseling, nutrition classes, and stress reduction classes. For more information or a schedule of events, contact the staff at or 630.262.1111.

The American Cancer Society’s Wig Boutique at LivingWell lets you select a brand new wig, hat and scarf at no cost while you are undergoing cancer treatment. An experienced American Cancer Society volunteer will help you select and fit the right wig.

living well cancer resource center treatment recovery cancer.