Colon Cancer

Colon cancer care at Scripps MD Anderson in San Diego

A smiling middle-aged Asian man represents the full life that can be led after rectal cancer treatment.

Colon cancer care at Scripps MD Anderson in San Diego

Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center treats more colon cancer patients than any other in San Diego County. Our experience in diagnosing and treating the disease is unmatched locally and statewide. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Scripps Green Hospital among the best in the nation for gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery.


We offer the most sophisticated treatments, including minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, robotic-assisted surgery and advanced radiology therapies that zero in on gastrointestinal cancer. Our multidisciplinary, collaborative board of cancer specialists reviews every patient’s care plan to ensure you receive the best possible care from diagnosis to recovery.

About colon cancer

Colon cancer is an intestinal cancer that starts in the cells that line the wall of the colon (large intestine). Colon cancer also may be called colorectal cancer, but if the cancer develops in the lower part of the colon, it is called rectal cancer.


Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States (excluding skin cancer). The risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 21 for men and about 1 in 23 for women. Fortunately, when colorectal cancer is found early, treatment has a high success rate.


Most types of colon cancer begin as a growth called a polyp, which forms on the inner lining of the colon wall. Over time, some polyps can become cancerous. The two main types of colon polyps include:


Adenomatous polyps (adenomas)

These polyps are considered precancerous, which means they are likely to turn into cancer if they keep growing. When these polyps are found, doctors typically recommend removing them.


Hyperplastic polyps and inflammatory polyps

These polyps are more common, but they usually do not become cancerous.


Over time, cancer that begins in a polyp along the lining of the colon can grow into the other layers of the colon wall and may grow into blood vessels or lymph vessels. If this happens, the cancer can then spread to other parts of the body.

Colon cancer symptoms, diagnosis and stages

As experts in diagnosing and staging colon cancer, your Scripps MD Anderson cancer care team will plan the best course of treatment. Treatment also depends on other medical conditions, age and overall health. Learn more about symptoms, imaging and diagnostic tests, and the stages of colon cancer below.

Treatment and clinical trials

Your Scripps MD Anderson team is ready to help you fight colon cancer with treatment plans designed to eliminate tumors and prevent recurrence of the disease. Our specialists use advanced treatments, including minimally invasive robot-assisted surgery and state-of-the-art radiation therapy, to target tumors while preserving healthy tissues and maximizing your quality of life.

Colon cancer treatment locations

Scripps diagnoses and treats colon cancer at numerous locations throughout San Diego County. From Chula Vista and La Jolla to Encinitas and beyond, our extensive network of Southern California cancer care centers includes:


  • Four Scripps hospitals on five campuses
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Specialty cancer treatment centers


Visit cancer care locations for details of each cancer hospital, clinic and specialty center.

Support groups, services and resources

As leaders in colon cancer care, we know what it takes to fight a winning battle. That’s why we equip our patients with the support and resources necessary to achieve their best possible outcome. From connecting you with support groups and services to empowering you with the latest resources and research, Scripps offers a comprehensive lineup to help you along every step of your cancer journey.