Colon Cancer

Duke’s colon cancer specialists use the latest medical and surgical advances to find and treat colon cancer at the earliest possible stage. We have the advanced training and expertise needed to perform complex sphincter-sparing procedures that remove colorectal cancer while reducing your chance of needing a permanent colostomy bag to collect the waste that leaves your body. We give you the personalized care you need to maximize your quality of life and your colon health.

Betty Marrow-Taylor appreciated her doctor’s caring, compassionate approach after being diagnosed with colon cancer.

Medical Advances in Colon Cancer

If you or someone you know is concerned about colon cancer, you need a healthcare team that uses the most effective techniques and treatments, and minimizes the chances that you will need a permanent colostomy.

As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, our colorectal cancer physicians and surgeons work closely with colorectal cancer patients every day. They are experts in identifying colon cancer tumors, and lead the nation in testing new approaches in clinical trials, including the development of the targeted therapy Avastin, which shrinks tumors and extends survival in patients when colorectal cancer has spread. We continue to test new therapies in clinical trials, and explore genomics, which studies genes, how they function, and their impact on health, so we can provide you with more personalized treatment options.

Choose Duke for your colon cancer treatment because we offer:

  • High-definition colonoscopy. We routinely use high-resolution colonoscopy imaging to create clearer images that offer better detection of polyps and cancer not seen with standard colonoscopy.
  • One-day evaluation. As a first-time patient here, you will undergo a thorough, day-long evaluation and consultation. You will leave with a comprehensive treatment plan that meets your needs. We can expedite the process even further if you bring blood, scans, and test results with you that were performed prior to your visit. If you need additional imaging or testing, the services are conveniently within our facilities.
  • Nationally ranked cancer program. We are consistently ranked among the best cancer programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Comforting environment. Our Duke Cancer Center features spacious waiting areas, a Quiet Room, large infusion rooms, and a rooftop garden area where patients — based on their treatment regimen — can receive chemotherapy outdoors.
  • Access our clinical trials. You may be eligible to participate in our ongoing colorectal cancer clinical trials. These trials give you access to new anti-cancer targeted therapies, new surgical approaches, and ways to minimize common cancer-related symptoms before they become widely available.
  • Enhanced recovery reduces hospital stays and readmissions. Our physicians are national leaders in enhanced recovery, a program that minimizes pre-operative fasting, encourages immediate post-operative physical rehabilitation, and incorporates specialized pain management to reduce the stress of colon surgery. Duke research shows their enhanced recovery approach decreases post-operative complication rates, and reduces the length of hospital stays.
  • More minimally invasive options. Nearly 80 percent of surgeries are performed with a laparoscope, which is inserted into the body through small incisions. This less invasive method is used to identify and sometimes remove tumors. As a result, you’ll experience smaller wounds, less pain and scarring, and lower incidence of infection. You will leave the hospital sooner, and recover faster. 
  • A team of specialists. Our board-certified colon cancer specialists — medical, radiation and surgical oncologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists, geneticists, specially trained nurses, nutritionists and social workers — meet regularly to discuss your care, collect opinions, and offer coordinated and advanced surgical, medical and follow-up care.
  • Hereditary colorectal cancer clinic. If you are at high risk for, or have a family history of colon cancer, you can work with the genetic counselors in our hereditary cancer clinic to determine and reduce your risk. 
  • Support for you and your loved ones. Our comprehensive support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. View all of our cancer support groups in our event calendar.  
Reviewed: 05/16/2018



Finding colon cancer early and obtaining an accurate diagnosis are key to your healthy outcome. Several methods are used to detect and diagnose colon cancers.

Reviewed: 05/16/2018
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