Colon Cancer Care

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Seattle Cancer Care AllianceThe UW Medicine colon cancer team consists of nationally recognized ​healthcare professionals with extensive clinical knowledge and the surgical expertise to prevent and treat all stages of colon cancer. This multidisciplinary team, led by UW Physicians, collaborates closely to offer personalized treatment plans based on the type and stage of your cancer, as well as your genetics, life circumstances, and other factors unique to you.

Deciding on where to receive treatment is the most important decision a patient with cancer will make. Studies have shown that patients who begin their treatment at a top national cancer center have better outcomes than those who start their treatment elsewhere.

UW Medicine has recently been recognized as one of the top five cancer centers in the United States. In addition, UW Medical Center (UWMC)—in collaboration with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center—is the only National Comprehensive Cancer Network in the Pacific Northwest.

​Comprehensive Team

Many of our patients have colon cancers requiring coordination by multiple healthcare professionals. We focus on integrated, patient-centered care to maximize your quality of life and the opportunity for a cure.

Our team includes experts from surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, genetics and gastroenterology all working together to provide the best possible care. In addition, we have a well-coordinated support team, including nutritionists, social workers and highly specialized nurses trained in the post-operative care of patients with colon cancer, which means that our patients get out of the hospital—and back to their lives—faster and with fewer complications.

As an academic health system, UW Medicine is also able to offer its patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials that aren't available elsewhere in the region. Participation is optional, but patients who participate in these studies have the first chance to benefit from the latest and most innovative therapies. Also, our physicians and scientists are constantly performing research to better understand why certain colon cancers respond the way they do to specific medications.

Standard Treatment

Everyone's cancer is different, which is why our treatment plans always begin with a comprehensive diagnosis.

Patients with stage I–III colon cancer will be evaluated by a team of specialists in our multidisciplinary clinic, which allows communication to flow freely among different members of your care team. Your physicians will recommend treatment based on the type and stage of your cancer and other factors, such as your overall health, any potential side effects of treatment, and the probability of curing your disease, extending your life, and relieving your symptoms.

For patients with stage IV colon cancer, your primary physician will be a medical oncologist specializing in gastrointestinal oncology and colorectal cancers. You will have access to clinical trials, and, in the event that radiation therapy and surgery are part of your treatment plan, the clinic offers multiple radiation options as well as surgeons specializing in colorectal cancers.

If your cancer is localized, the primary treatment option will likely be surgery, followed by chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

If your cancer has metastasized and spread to other parts of your body, chemotherapy is the primary treatment, possibly accompanied by radiation therapy or surgery.

Our patient-centered team also provides supportive care and pain management at every stage of the treatment process.

​​Where You Will Be Seen

The outpatient clinic is located at SCCA, while our physicians perform surgical procedures at UWMC. If you are participating in a clinical trial or your treatment plan calls for chemotherapy, you will be seen at the SCCA outpatient clinic, while radiation therapy can be administered at SCCA, UWMC or Northwest Hospital & Medical Center.

If you have already been diagnosed with colon cancer, you may also self-refer by calling the SCCA's Patient Intake Office at 206.288.SCCA (7222).