Understanding Colorectal Cancer

Cancer that starts in the colon is called colon cancer, while cancer that starts in the rectum is called rectal cancer. The cancer that begins in either organ can also be called colorectal cancer. This type of cancer is quite common in the United States in men and women. And as with most types of cancer, it is very treatable if discovered early.

If you or a loved one was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, whether through screening or after noticing symptoms, request an appointment with one of our colorectal cancer specialists located in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. They will guide you through the next steps. 

Helpful Tips for Those Recently Diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer

A new cancer diagnosis comes with a lot of questions you'll need answered before making important decisions. As you consider where to receive colorectal cancer care, take some time to learn what you can expect during your treatment process, the types of doctors you'll visit with, and common questions that many patients have as a part of understanding their diagnosis, treatment options, and prognosis.


Specialists in Colorectal Cancer Are Close By in Portland & Vancouver

The colorectal cancer doctors at Compass Oncology, serving the Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA areas, are experienced in colorectal cancer treatment and dedicated to creating a treatment plan that's right for you.

Throughout your cancer journey, several physicians will be involved in your care. By starting with a medical oncologist, you will have a plan created for you that includes the surgeon, a radiation oncologist if needed, and a team of supportive care specialists to help you and your family through this challenging time.

Request an initial consultation appointment at one of our Portland or Vancouver locations that's convenient for you. Second opinions on colorectal cancer treatment plans are also available. Taking the first steps can be scary, but we're here with you every step of the way.

Find a Colon and Rectal Cancer Specialist in portland-vancouver

Signs & Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer

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Most cases of colorectal cancer develop out of non-cancerous (benign) polyps, which, over time, can turn into cancer. During colorectal cancer's earlier stages, signs may not be obvious, which is why doctors recommend regular colorectal cancer screening tests after the age of 45 for most people.

Risk Factors of Colon and Rectal Cancers

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The risk factors of colon and rectal cancer include both controllable and uncontrollable factors. While you cannot do much to avoid the uncontrollable factors of colorectal cancer, you are able to make changes to decrease your risk from controllable factors.

Diagnosing Colorectal Cancer


Compass Oncology is your resource for understanding the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer, along with how doctors will work to detect and diagnose the disease. 

Colorectal Cancer Staging

staging colorectal cancer at compass oncology by gi cancer experts

If a biopsy determines colorectal cancer is present, your doctor will need to know the extent or stage of colorectal cancer to plan the best course for treatment. The stage is based on whether the tumor has invaded nearby tissues, whether the cancer has spread, and, if so, to what parts of the body.

Colorectal Cancer Treatment Options

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Based on various factors, including the stage of your colorectal cancer, you and your doctor will discuss options for your cancer treatment. Those options can include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Radiation therapy
The Compass Oncology team in Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA will help you decide on a treatment plan that’s right for you.

Colon Cancer Clinical Trials and Research in Portland and Vancouver


At Compass Oncology, we participate in clinical trials through Sarah Cannon Research Institute (SCRI), a joint venture with US Oncology Research, and are able to provide our community with access to new therapies in the Portland area.

We have over 70 ongoing clinical trials at any given time that include research for colon and rectal cancers. You can search for an available clinical trial that might be right for you.

Colorectal Cancer Survivor Support


Colorectal cancer affects many people of many different ages. Compass Oncology has many resources for patients and their families looking for survivor support and resources, including local colon and rectal cancer survivor support programs.

Is Colon Cancer Hereditary?


You could be at risk of developing colorectal cancer if you have a family history of the disease.

Our cancer genetic experts in Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA are here to guide you through cancer genetic counseling. Find out if you are at risk for hereditary colon cancer syndromes, and if you should take advantage of the Genetic Risk Evaluation & Testing Program.

Find a Colon and Rectal Cancer Specialist in portland-vancouver