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Colorectal Cancer

Did you know that one in 23 men and one in 25 women will develop colorectal cancer at some point in their life? There's good news, however: there are now more than 1 million colorectal cancer survivors in the U.S., largely thanks to an increase in screenings and advanced treatment options.

Who should be screened and when?

The American Cancer Society suggests that men and women age 45 and older should have one of the following screening tests:

  • Colonoscopy every 10 years
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy) every 5 years*
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years*
  • Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years*

If you have an increased risk of colorectal cancer, you may need to start screenings earlier, and have them more frequently. Some of the conditions that increase your risk are:

  • A personal history of colorectal cancer, polyps or inflammatory bowel disease (ulcertative colitis or Crohn's disease)
  • A family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
  • A known family history of hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or Lynch syndrome (hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer).

Myths and Facts about Colorectal Health:

Listen to our expert physician panel discuss the most common myths and facts regarding colorectal health.

Navigating Your Treatment Options

At NGMC, our team of physicians and other professionals will help you navigate the many choices available to you for treatment and develop a plan that best meets your unique disease and situation. From surgery to nutrition support and pastoral care, our goal is to help you live life as fully as possible throughout your treatment and in your life as a cancer survivor. In addition, NGMC offers a Patient Navigation Program to help guide you through your cancer journey.

Some of the treatment options for colorectal cancer include:

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Primary surgical therapy for colon cancer is partial colectomy (removing the affected section of colon). Surgeons at NGMC can perform this procedure both minimally invasively and robotically -- allowing for smaller incisions, less risk of complications and, often, a quicker recovery.

At NGMC, we continue to be leaders in the fight against colorectal cancer. Our surgeons have adopted laparoscopic colectomy as our gold standard for primary surgical therapy for colon cancer. Our rate of laparoscopic versus open surgery for primary surgical treatment is far ahead of the national rate, which is a testament to the training and dedication of our surgeons to be on the cutting edge of advanced surgical therapies for cancer. NGMC's survival and screening rates continue to beat national benchmarks.

Chemotherapy and Radiation

If colon cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, patients may receive chemotherapy to reduce tumor size, alleviate pain and prolong life. Chemotherapy may be used before or following surgery. You may receive your chemotherapy treatments in your physician's office or in the hospital's chemotherapy infusion suites. Radiation is generally used to reduce tumors affecting the rectum. Click here to learn more about NGMC's radiation oncology services.

Clinical Trials

Northeast Georgia Medical Center actively participates in clinical trials to make the latest treatments available to our patients and to advance the treatment options available to patients around the world who are fighting cancer. Click here to learn more about colorectal clinical trials underway now.

Support Services

Northeast Georgia Medical Center provides other valuable resources to guide you through your cancer care and to answer questions after you have completed your treatment for colorectal cancer. To learn more about our extensive support network from financial counseling to pastoral care, click here.


For more information about care care at NGMC, please call 770-219-8800.


Colorectal Cancer Signs & Symptoms

Colorectal cancer might not cause symptoms right away, but if it does, it may cause one or more of these symptoms:

  • A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool, that lasts for more than a few days
  • A feeling that you need to have a bowel movement that's not relieved by having one
  • Rectal bleeding with bright red blood
  • Blood in the stool, which may make the stool look dark
  • Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss
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