Although the exact cause of colorectal cancer is unknown, MemorialCare Cancer Institute provides screenings and resources to help reduce mortality through cancer prevention and early detection. Colonoscopies are considered the gold standard of screening for colorectal cancer. In 2023, the screening recommendation age was changed from 50 to 45 for both men and women by the U.S Preventive Services Task Force.

“The screening age was lowered because we were seeing more later stage cancers already progressed by the time people were screened at age 50 the first time,” says Nilesh Vora, M.D., medical oncologist, medical director, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Medical Center. “There seems to be a trend in colorectal cancer appearing earlier, and if you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you may even need to be screened at age 40. It’s important to catch cancer early before it enters more advanced stages, making it harder to treat.”

Should a patient need a more advanced screening, MemorialCare Cancer Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center and Long Beach Medical Center offers endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), a minimally invasive imaging technique that combines an ultrasound device with endoscopy for better visualization of organs and structures that can’t be seen with standard endoscopy and can help determine if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes.

“Because the ultrasound device is inside your body, right next to your organs, it creates more detailed and accurate images,” says Jose Aranez, M.D., interventional gastroenterologist, MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center. “This allows us to take a tissue or fluid sample by passing a thin needle through the endoscope, eliminating the need for a separate biopsy procedure.”

As a leader in treating early and advanced colorectal cancer, MemorialCare Cancer Institute patients have access to minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery techniques. Surgery remains a cornerstone in the treatment of colorectal cancer, with the focus on removing the cancerous tissue while preserving as much of the healthy tissue as possible.

“We understand that when patients come in for any procedure, patient satisfaction increases when minimally invasive options are offered,” says Jack Jacoub, M.D., medical director, MemorialCare Cancer Institute, Saddleback Medical Center and Orange Coast Medical Center. “Minimally invasive procedures allow for less pain, less blood loss, quicker recovery, shorter hospital stays, and lower risk of complications. We also are very skilled at traditional surgery — always keeping the patient outcomes and health goals top of mind.”

MemorialCare Cancer Institute offers a collaborative and caring approach from diagnosis to treatment of patients with confirmed or suspected colorectal cancer. The multidisciplinary care team works with each patient to develop a comprehensive treatment plan to meet their needs. Part of that care team includes a dedicated nurse navigator who helps guide patients through their colorectal cancer journey from diagnosis to surgery and throughout treatment.

Early detection through advanced screening methods, precision in diagnosis using cutting-edge imaging technologies, and personalized treatment are improving the outcomes for people with colorectal cancer. Please call (888) 636-5864 to speak with a navigator to learn more.