At Main Line Health, we're leading the fight against colorectal cancer—our team is setting the standards for diagnosing and treating both colon and rectal cancer. Our surgeons are able to perform 90–95 percent of colorectal cancer surgeries using minimally invasive techniques like laparoscopy. In 93 percent of cases, our patients keep their normal bowel function after surgery—without having to use a colostomy bag.
With higher survival rates and lower recurrence rates than the national average, we're a leader when it comes to treating colorectal cancer, attracting patients from around the world. And with convenient locations just minutes from Philadelphia, we're making it easier than ever to get high-quality, colorectal care.
The internationally renowned rectal cancer program at Lankenau Medical Center is first in the Philadelphia region and 12th in the nation to earn accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), a program developed by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) to improve the care of rectal cancer patients across the country.
Colorectal cancer screenings
Colorectal cancer starts out as a small, benign (non-cancerous) growth called a polyp. By staying up to date on routine screenings, you have a head start at stopping cancer before it starts.
Talk to your doctor today about routine screenings like:
- Rectal exam
- Fecal occult blood test – checking for blood in the stool
- Barium enema – X-ray exam
- Sigmoidoscopy – a procedure that looks at the large intestine area closest to the rectum
- Colonoscopy – a procedure that looks at the entire colon and rectum
These screenings also are important because colorectal cancer often shows no symptoms. Explore commonly asked questions about the colon test for cancer.
Finding the right treatment for colorectal cancer
Having a screening can also address benign polyps that could become cancerous tumors. With a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, our doctors can remove any small polyps that are discovered right then and there during the screening—you don't have to schedule a separate procedure.
Larger polyps or polyps that are hard to reach may require surgery to remove. In most cases, our surgeons can remove the polyp with a minimally invasive procedure—which means a quicker recovery for you.
Colorectal surgeons at Main Line Health are pioneering advanced techniques like:
We also have the technology that lets us combine these advanced surgical procedures with the latest innovations in chemotherapy and radiation.
The most advanced care for colorectal cancer
With so much expertise in one health system, we continue to innovate and improve when it comes to colorectal cancer treatments. Lankenau Medical Center in the suburbs of Philadelphia has a long-standing tradition of medical education and was one of the first hospitals in the country to offer a minimally invasive colorectal surgical fellowship program. To continue this tradition of teaching, Lankenau established the Gerald J. Marks, MD, Annual Rectal Cancer Lectureship. The lecture is held in conjunction with the International Rectal Cancer Consensus Conference. These two collaborative educational events are held each year at Lankenau and bring together experts from universities and medical centers around the world. The conference is critical to defining standards of rectal cancer treatment. The Harry Paul Mirabile, Sr. Colorectal Cancer Center at Lankenau was also established in June 2011.
A "virtual center without walls," the Mirabile Colorectal Cancer Center's mission is to provide a framework for basic scientists and clinicians to exchange ideas for solving the most demanding problems in the struggle to prevent, treat and subdue colorectal cancer through clinical research. The center is under the direction of Dr. John Marks.