Cancer Call(800) 752.9119

Confidential help for all your cancer questions - clinical trials, support groups, specialist referrals and more.

(Monday - Friday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

Colon Cancer

You’ve just been told you have colon cancer.

We’ll be here to talk you through everything else, too. 

If you’ve just been diagnosed with colon cancer and will soon enter treatment, you and your family have surely been through some very trying times.

Although colon cancer is a serious disease, there is hope. And we want you to know that beginning with your diagnosis and throughout your treatment, we’ll be with you. Helping you navigate this new and unfamiliar chapter in your life. Marrying the clinical with the compassionate. Providing you the precise care, and caring, you need.  

You’ll surely have many questions as you progress through your Care Plan. Whether they are about treatment, your eligibility for clinical trials, your curiosity about educational classes and programs, or any of our many other resources available, we are here to answer any and all questions.

Colon Cancer Basics Treatments and Procedures

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What is colon cancer? What causes it?

    A: Colon cancer occurs in the large intestine (the colon), which is the lower part of the digestive system. Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon and rectum – the rectum is the last few inches of the colon. These two cancers are sometimes referenced together as colorectal cancer.

    It’s not known what actually causes colon cancer, but we know it most often starts from polyps that grow on the inner lining of the colon.

    For more details on colon cancer, you can visit The American Cancer Society’s “What Is Colon Cancer?”
  • Q: Is colon cancer treatable?

    A: Colon cancer is treatable. The kind of colon cancer treatment you’ll receive depends on where the tumor is located and the stage it’s in. Treatment for colon cancer may involve surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Talk to your doctor about treatment options available to you.
  • Q: Does OhioHealth treat colon cancer?

    A: Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancers diagnosed and treated at OhioHealth hospitals. Our general surgeons and colorectal surgeons have the expertise and training to care for patients with all stages of this cancer, offering the best possible treatment.
  • Q: What treatment options are available to me, and how will they affect my daily life?

    A: Common treatments for colon cancer include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, every cancer patient is unique in their treatment needs, and it’s best to talk with your doctor about what options will work for you as well as what it means for your quality of life going forward. To prepare for your discussion with your doctor or to read more about colon cancer treatments, turn to the National Cancer Institute’s overview on this topic.
  • Q: How serious is colon cancer?

    A: We understand you may have many colon cancer questions and concerns when you are newly diagnosed. The answer you’re looking for, however, is individual to you — just as it is individual to other colon cancer patients — and so cannot be generalized in an FAQ. 

    It’s important to talk to your doctor about the seriousness of your colon cancer with a friend or family member present to help you hear and remember the information your doctor shares with you. Ask your doctor to explain the stage your cancer is in and what that means for your treatment and recovery. Share with your doctor your fears and concerns.
  • Q: What are the different stages of colon cancer?

    A: Staging is the process of determining the extent of the cancer, whether or not it has spread within the colon and/or outside of the colon to other organs. Staging is important in determining the type of treatment most appropriate for the cancer.

    The National Cancer Institute describes the stages of colon cancer in this way:

    Stage 0: The cancer is found only in the innermost lining of the colon or rectum. Carcinoma in situ is another name for Stage 0 colorectal cancer.

    Stage I: The tumor has grown into the inner wall of the colon or rectum. The tumor has not grown through the wall.

    Stage II: The tumor extends more deeply into or through the wall of the colon or rectum. It may have invaded nearby tissue, but cancer cells have not spread to the lymph nodes.

    Stage III: The cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, but not to other parts of the body. 

    Stage IV:
     The cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs.

    Recurrence: This is cancer that has been treated and has returned after a period of time when the cancer could not be detected. The disease may return in the colon or in another part of the body.
  • Q: Can colon cancer be inherited?

    A: The risk for colon cancer increases if you have a parent, sibling or child with the disease. It increases even more if additional family members have it; however, this doesn’t always mean there’s a genetic syndrome causing the cancer in the family. Cancer in families can also result from shared exposure to environmental carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) and from similar dietary and lifestyle habits.

    If you’re concerned about colon cancer in your family, contact the genetic experts in the OhioHealth Cancer Genetics Program. We can help you find answers.
  • Q: Does OhioHealth offer any clinical trials for colon cancer?

    A: Talk to your doctor about your interest in participating in a clinical trial for colon cancer. Your doctor will be able to give you information about any trials for colon cancer going on at OhioHealth. Also visit the National Cancer Institute’s website for information on clinical trials to help you learn more about clinical trials so that you may have an informed discussion with your doctor.
  • Q: Will surgery be part of my treatment?

    A: It’s likely, considering surgery is a common treatment for colon cancer. That said, whether or not surgery will be considered as part of your treatment depends on the stage of your cancer, your health condition and other factors. Your doctor, as well as others on your OhioHealth Cancer Care Team, will work closely with you to help determine the treatment options for you.
  • Q: Where do I find more information on colon cancer?

    A: There’s a lot of information about colon cancer on the Web and in bookstores. We recommend you start with The American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute for their comprehensive expertise. From there you’ll find more resources.

For more information on colon cancer treatment at OhioHealth, please view our patient brochure

OhioHealth Cancer News

Integrating the Arts with Cancer Treatment

Recently, WOSU-TV visited the Bing Cancer Center to learn about OhioHealth's art and music therapy program.  They spent time in the infusion center watching patients participate in a…

OhioHealth Bing Cancer Center

The state-of-the-art Bing Cancer Center combines personal services with clinical expertise for truly individualized care.

Take A Virtual Tour Now  


Patient Testimonial - Joe's Story

Patient Advocates

"My patient advocate has made a big difference in my life. I would not be getting chemo if it were not for Jamie." - Joe

Testimonial promo - Joe