Colorectal Cancer | Miami Cancer Institute | Baptist Health South Florida
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Older man with colorectal cancer at Miami Cancer Institute

Colorectal Cancer

At Miami Cancer Institute, our goal is to diagnose colon and rectal cancers early, when treatments are most effective.

Our world-class colorectal team combines a multidisciplinary approach to accurately diagnose and treat your cancer, with the goal of preserving your bowel function and quality of life. Our surgeons are experts in minimally-invasive techniques, including robotic and laparoscopic surgeries, for smaller incisions, less pain and quicker recovery.

Colorectal cancer starts in the colon or rectum, often beginning as a polyp or growth of tissue that starts in the lining and grows into the center of the colon or rectum. If the polyp is an adenoma, it can become cancerous if not detected and removed early. A little more than 5 percent of Americans will develop colon or rectal cancer in their lifetimes.

Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of colon cancer include:

  • Over age 50
  • African-American race
  • Personal history of colorectal cancer or polyps and inflammatory intestinal conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease
  • Inherited syndromes such as familial adenomatous polyposis and Lynch syndrome 
  • Family history of colon cancer 
  • Low-fiber, high-fat diet 
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol and tobacco use

Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

Talk to your doctor if you have one or more of the following symptoms for more than two weeks:

  • Abdominal pain and/or bloating
  • Blood and/or change in the stool
  • Change in appetite
  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Discomfort or urge to have a bowel movement
  • Fatigue
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Unexplained weight loss

To diagnose colorectal cancer, your doctor will perform a physical exam, including a digital rectal exam, and review your health history, lifestyle habits and family health history. You also may have one or more of the following diagnostic tests:

  • Laboratory tests, to check for proteins and tumor markers.
  • Imaging tests, such as CT, MRI and PET scans, X-ray, endoscopic ultrasound, virtual colonoscopy and double contrast barium enema.
  • Endoscopic tests, such as sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy. 

Miami Cancer Institute’s colorectal cancer team combines innovative, genetically targeted therapies with leading-edge surgical techniques that work best to treat your specific cancer. Your personalized treatment plan may include a combination of therapies, including:

  • Surgery, including minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery.
  • Radiation therapy, using high doses of radiation to target cancer cells.
  • Proton therapy, which is one of the most exciting advances in the fight against certain types of cancer.
  • Chemotherapy, to destroy cancer cells and control their growth.
  • Genetic counseling and testing, for people with a family history of colorectal cancers or hereditary cancer syndromes
  • Targeted therapy, which uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific types of cancer cells, blocking their growth and spread.

Psychologists, dietitians, therapists and pain management specialists in our Cancer Patient Support Center will provide compassionate care to help you navigate through the care continuum – from diagnosis to survivorship.​