For more information, call: 573-331-3000

Colon Cancer

Colon Cancer Prevention

Colon cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in men and women. Colon cancer treatment is most effective when the cancer is diagnosed in the earliest stages of the disease. Starting at age 50, you should see a gastroenterologist every year for a fecal occult blood test. Every five years, you should have a barium enema and a flexible sigmoidoscopy. Every 10 years you should have a colonoscopy.


Polyps that develop from the inner wall of the large intestine are what cause colon cancer. Regular screenings by a gastroenterologist are important because colon polyps and early colon cancer symptoms are often not detectable. The earlier the diagnosis, the greater the chance for survival.


Under the direction of board certified radiation oncologists, Saint Francis Medical Center provides advanced surgery and sophisticated therapeutic radiation treatments to treat various forms of colon cancer. Treatments for  gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, such as rectal cancer and colon cancer,  include:

  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Frameless stereotactic radiosurgery to precisely target tumors in various areas of the body
  • CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System, which delivers high doses of radiation with pinpoint accuracy
  • Chemotherapy

Support Groups

Saint Francis Medical Center offers the I Can Cope program to colon cancer patients and their families. This program gives colorectal cancer patients an opportunity to share their concerns with others having similar experiences and to help them design ways to cope with the challenges that arise from a cancer diagnosis. Speakers include healthcare professionals in cancer management. Videos, print materials and discussions provide up-to-date information for patients and their families and friends.

I Can Cope meets the third Wednesday of every month from 11:30 am to 1 pm at the Saint Francis Cancer Institute. To learn more about I Can Cope, call 573-334-2230.