Colorectal Cancer Program

Colorectal cancer is a cancer of the large intestine, which includes the colon, rectum, and anus. It is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the United States. However, it’s also highly treatable if found early.

If you have colorectal cancer, you want the most comprehensive care and expertise available:

  • A multidisciplinary team of experts who specialize in care for patients with colorectal cancer
  • Follow-up care and emotional support you may need for "life after cancer"
  • The latest technologies and advanced screening and diagnostic techniques to detect or prevent colorectal cancer
  • Treatments and therapies tailored just for you

At Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, it is our privilege and responsibility to provide the care you expect and deserve. You can trust us to be with you every step of the way.

Why Choose Holden for Your Care?

Patients of Holden Cancer Center benefit from a team-based approach that puts each patient at the center. At Holden, experts in specific cancer types—including a genetic counselor certified and specializing in cancer genetic counseling—is part of this team.

Holden patients also benefit from medical advances that take into account an individual’s tumor, genes, environment, and lifestyle to diagnose and treat their specific types of cancer. Known as personalized, or precision medicine, this highly specialized approach is part of Holden’s commitment to providing life-changing medical treatments and care.

What Sets Us Apart

  • Among the nation’s best. Holden Cancer Center is a National Institutes of Health-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only 45 such centers nationwide.
  • Clinical trials. As a patient, this means access to potentially new medications or treatments not yet widely available.
  • Clinical pharmacist expertise. Our clinical pharmacists specializing in chemotherapy will provide personalized counseling related to your treatment.
  • Coordinated care, personal attention. Our multidisciplinary care team includes nurses who will help coordinate all aspects of your care. We also offer a range of counseling services and support groups for you and your family.
  • Experts dedicated solely to colorectal cancer. Our fellowship-trained colorectal surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and surgical oncologists focus primarily on colorectal cancer. This leads to deeper understanding, greater expertise, and ultimately, better care for you.
  • Genetics counseling. Our genetics counselor will obtain and analyze your family history to assess your risk for having a genetic predisposition to cancer and counsel you on genetic testing.
  • Palliative care service. Our palliative care experts will help you manage your cancer symptoms and minimize side effects from your treatment.
  • Team approach, targeted treatments. Our colorectal cancer experts—medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and others—work together to offer advanced treatments and therapies tailored for you. Treatment plans may include:
    • Chemotherapy
    • Radiation therapy
    • Specialized therapy for colorectal metastases, or cancer cells that have spread to other organs such as the liver:
      • Radioembolization
      • Radiofrequency ablation
      • Stereotactic radiosurgery
    • Surgery for colon and rectal cancers, including minimally invasive techniques such as laparoscopy or robotic surgery

Comprehensive Care With You in Mind

Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only institution in Iowa—and one of only 45 nationwide—to be designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Of the approximately 1,500 cancer centers and programs in the United States, NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers are rated in the top 4 percent nationally.

To be a "comprehensive" center means our medical teams have met strict guidelines in clinical, laboratory, and population-based research.

As members of an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, our doctors, nurses, and staff are among the nation's leaders in cancer research, education, prevention, and outreach. Our experience—and our expertise—guides the cancer care we provide to patients like you.

The Power of Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments not yet available to the public. These new treatments have the potential to improve your quality of life or increase your chances of survival.

Many of our patients have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials led by Holden Cancer Center doctors or in collaboration with other cancer centers nationwide or the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Our clinical trials for colorectal cancer patients include:

Metastatic colorectal carcinoma study
This study will help determine the safety and effectiveness of a single dose of an investigational drug for patients who have colorectal cancer that has metastasized (spread) to the liver.

Learn more about clinical research at Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center and search a database of current cancer clinical trials.

Stories From Our Patients

Support the Cancer Center

Our work is made possible in part by the support of donors through charitable giving. Friends of Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center can become partners in our efforts to control and ultimately cure cancer. Learn how you can help us make a difference for cancer patients.

Adrian Holm, DO, shares why there's no better place for colorectal cancer treatment than University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.

Care Team

We bring together experts from different areas of medicine to work together as a team called a multidisciplinary oncology group, focused on a specific cancer type, such as colorectal cancer.

This team of specialists—surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, pharmacists, genetics counselors, nurses, and others—works together to design a treatment plan that is tailored to your cancer and your specific treatment needs.