Cancer Information

Early detection of Colorectal Cancer

People who are at risk (described above) of developing colorectal cancer are asked by doctors to take certain tests routinely for early detection of cancer -

  • A digital rectal exam (DRE) by the doctor

  • A fecal occult blood test  is a test used to check for minute quantity of blood in the stool occurring due to a polyp or early cancer.

  • A colonoscopy is an examination of the rectum and entire colon using a lighted instrument called a colonoscope.

  • A double contrast barium enema (DCBE)- The patient is given an enema with a solution that contains barium, which outlines the colon and rectum on the x-rays.

Diagnosis of Colorectal Cancer 

The following tests are useful for diagnosing colorectal cancer:

  • Double contrast barium enema

  • A sigmoidoscopy and or colonoscopy along with a biopsy from suspicious area -A biopsy is the removal of a tissue sample for examination under a microscope by a pathologist to make a diagnosis.


Surgical resection of the cancer is the primary treatment of Colorectal cancer and the adjuvant therapy depends on the stage of the disease ?

  • Stage 0 Colon Cancer (Carcinoma in Situ)- A local excision or simple polypectomy of a carcinoma in situ in a polyp. Resection/anastomosis. This is done when the cancerous tissue is too large to remove by local excision.

  • Stage I Colon Cancer - Treatment of stage I colon cancer is usually resection and anastomosis.

  • Stage II Colon Cancer - Treatment of stage II colon cancer may include the following:  Resection and anastomosis followed by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or biologic therapy.

  • Stage III Colon Cancer - Treatment of stage III colon cancer may include the following: Resection/anastomosis with chemotherapy with radiation therapy and or biologic therapy.

Chemotherapy regimes usually includes either a combination of  (1) Fluorouracil, leucovorin, and levamisole  or (2) Irinotecan and oxaliplatin. 

Recent development: Patients with newly diagnosed metastatic colon cancer who received the therapeutic agent bevacizumab (Avastin) along with the chemotherapy combination known as IFL ((irinotecan, 5-FU, leucovorin)) had substantially improved the survival. Bevacizumab is an anti-angiogenesis agent that inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).