Colorectal Cancer

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Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer, otherwise known as simply colon cancer, is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Yet, millions of people aren't doing the one thing that could keep them from becoming part of that statistic - getting screened for this disease.

Patients benefit from the intervention of a highly-experienced, interdisciplinary treatment team, composed of oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, specialized oncology nurses and social workers.

Early Detection Leads to Promising Outcomes

Beginning at age 50, men and women who are at average risk for developing colorectal cancer should be screened yearly as recommended by the American Cancer Society. When found early, there is a nearly 90 percent chance for full recovery.


Screening for colorectal cancer allows for the early detection of cancer when it is highly curable, as well as the detection of growths (polyps) that might eventually become cancer. There are several tests used to screen for colorectal cancer and polyps:

  • Fecal occult blood test or Immunochemical fecal occult blood test detects occult (hidden) blood in feces. The test is typically given as a take home test by your physician. The Leavey Cancer Center offers a free take home Hemoccult® fecal occult blood test. Please call 818-885-8500, ext. 2855 for more information.
  • Flexible Colonoscopy allows your doctor to see the lining of the rectum and the entire colon.

Dedicated to boosting cancer awareness, the Leavey Cancer Center hosts cancer education classes and outreach. The under-insured and uninsured also qualify for a free colonoscopy. For more information call 818-885-8500, ext. 5688.

Progressive Treatment Options

The Leavey Cancer Center offers the most comprehensive multi-modality treatment options. Colon cancer patients will most likely undergo surgery and/or chemotherapy for treatment. In contrast, rectal cancer patients may utilize a variety of treatments, alone or in combination with surgery, chemotherapy or IMRT.

It’s our belief that cancer treatment is not simply a matter of giving the right medicine for the right illness. We understand it’s the entire person who is going through this difficult time and we strive to help you physically, psychologically and spiritually. Every patient is unique, every family's history is diverse and every cancer is different.

Molecular Diagnostic testing is available for colon tumor sites. Molecular profiling tests for a variety of biomarkers in the DNA of a tissue sample to help us better diagnose, stage and treat cancer on an individualized basis.

Our specialized cancer team addresses this by customizing a treatment plan that meets your needs and goals. Your treatment plan may involve surgery, chemotherapy and radiation either alone or in combination with additional treatment methods. After undergoing surgery, many patients receive radiation therapy to stop the growth of undetected cancer cells. Radiation reduces the chance of recurrence. This combination of surgery and radiation therapy has long been considered a safe and effective alternative to complete removal of an organ.

Colon Rectal Surgical Options

Our surgical team is dedicated to providing our patients with a complete range of options best suited to their individual needs.

Laparoscopic Colectomy
This is the removal of part of the colon by using the laparoscopic surgery technique. With laparoscopic surgery, patients experience less pain and return home in four or five days. Within a week or two they can return to all normal activities, including work. Because laparoscopic colorectal surgery requires extensive and highly-specialized training, few surgeons are qualified to perform these procedures. Northridge Hospital is one of the few places with such talented surgeons.

Trusted Chemotherapy

We offer the most advanced methods of chemotherapy and hormonal therapy treatment. Our patients are given a comfortable, supportive setting while receiving intravenous (IV), intramuscular (IM) or oral medication. In addition, we offer personalized care, including nutritional recommendations and help for patients to look and feel their best with specialized beauty tips and meditation techniques.

Advanced Radiation Technology

The Harold and Carole Pump Department of Radiation Oncology offers:

  • Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)
    Delivers a beam of high-dose radiation, which can take on the precise size and shape of the cancerous growth and preserve as much healthy, non-cancerous tissue as possible.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
    An alternative non-surgical, minimally invasive treatment for carefully selected patients using heat to treat tumors. Using high-energy radio waves to heat and destroy abnormal tissues, this very potent and precise technique obliterates cancerous tumors while minimizing damage of surrounding tissue. A thin, needle-like probe is guided into the tumor by ultrasound or CT scan.
  • Brachytherapy
    Internal radiation treatment is administered by placing radioactive material directly into the tumor or close to it. Also called interstitial radiation therapy or seed implantation.
  • External Beam Radiation 
    The 25 MV high penetrating photons yield the highest penetrating energy available in the Valley, while resulting in the lowest side-effects.

State-of-the-Art Imaging

Imaging is often used to determine the stage of the cancer or the tumor's exact location in order to make treatment decisions. We have invested in advanced imaging technology and expanded our capabilities to include highly-trained subspecialty radiologists for quick and definitive diagnoses.

Cancer Research

Groundbreaking medical advances are the result of new ideas and approaches developed through clinical research. Northridge Hospital Medical Center remains on the forefront of the latest research developments by offering participation in clinical research. For information on cancer trials we are currently conducting, please call our Cancer Research Department at (818) 885-5458.

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Northridge Hospital Medical Center
18300 Roscoe Blvd
Northridge, CA 91328
(818) 885-8500