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Colorectal (Colon) Cancer

Colorectal cancer is a term used for cancer that starts in the colon or the rectum. These cancers can also be referred to separately as colon cancer or rectal cancer, depending on where they start. Colon cancer and rectal cancer have many features in common.

Colorectal Cancer 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 is not relieved by doing so
  • Rectal bleeding, dark stools, or blood in the stool (often, though, the stool will look normal)
  • Cramping or abdominal (belly) pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Unintended weight loss

Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

The Multidisciplinary Colorectal Cancer Clinic is staffed by a team of experts in gastroenterology, medical oncology, surgery, nuclear medicine, pathology, radiation oncology, radiology, social work and nursing. Our clinic has been named a Blue Distinction Center for Complex and Rare Cancers as part of a national program by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. That means we offer a comprehensive inpatient and outpatient cancer care program, delivered by a multidisciplinary team with subspecialty training and distinguished clinical expertise in treating complex and rare subtypes of cancer.


Screening is a key component to detecting colorectal cancer in the early stage. A colonoscopy is the most preferred method of screening. In fact with a colonoscopy if there is any detection of possible cancer with the presence of polyps, they can be removed and sent to pathology for further testing. For more information, please visit Prevention and Detection.


One of the many factors that can predict having colorectal cancer is family history. As a patient you have access to one of the leading cancer genetics programs to help identify genetic risk factors and provide screening recommendations for you and your family.

Colorectal Cancer Research and Innovation

We are just as collaborative with our research as we are in our clinical program. By involving more than 40 researchers from 18 departments we have made significant strides in researching gastrointestinal cancers. Our goal has been focused upon what biologic, genetic and/or molecular processes have to take place to give rise to the development of gastrointestinal cancer. We are dedicated to moving our research from the laboratory to the bedside and, to that end, offer a number of clinical trials.

Support for Colorectal Cancer Patients

Since our program is part of the U-M Rogel Cancer Center, our patients have access to Patient Support Services. To fully understand what this means, please take time to visit the support services area of this website. We outline the services available to our patients at every point in their care.

Make an appointment/referral

To make an appointment, please contact 734-647-8902. If you would like to refer a patient, please contact our M-Line service: 800-962-3555. For more information, visit our Make an Appointment web page.

Still have questions?

The nurses at Cancer AnswerLine have answers. Call 1-800-865-1125 and you'll get a personal response from one of our registered nurses, who have years of experience in caring for people with cancer.

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