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San Cancer Services

Colorectal / Bowel Cancer

What is Colorectal / Bowel Cancer?

As one of the most common types of cancers, colorectal or bowel cancer can often be treated successfully with timely intervention. Typically beginning with polyps (small growths) on the inner lining of bowel, this type of cancer affects the colon or rectum. The polyps can gradually transform into tumours, which over time may become cancerous.

Regular checkups are recommended, especially where there is a family history of bowel cancer or existing issues such as inflammatory bowel disease. Other high risk factors for bowel cancer relate to lifestyle such as:

  • Diets high in red meat
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

The San's Sydney hospital provides an extensive suite of diagnostic services which play a crucial role in bowel cancer prevention, supported by our advanced surgical and non-surgical therapies for colorectal cancer treatment.

Detecting Bowel Cancer Early

Successful treatment of bowel cancer is closely linked to early detection and recognition of common symptoms. Early symptoms of bowel cancer are unexpected weight loss, abnormal fatigue, blood in the stool, changes to usual bowel movements and abdominal pain.

Initial screening for bowel cancer is usually provided by conducting faecal blood tests and colonoscopies. If bowel cancer is suspected, further tests may be conducted such as a biopsy during the colonoscopy. Imaging tests such as CT scans or MRI scans may also be used to provide more detailed information on the size and location of the cancerous cells.

Located within our private hospital on Sydney's North Shore, our Radiology & Nuclear Medicine and Pathology services enable our oncology specialists to undertake a comprehensive range of tests and investigations where required. These tests are used to clarify or confirm a diagnosis before commencing treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Treating Bowel Cancer

Each patient diagnosed with bowel cancer is provided with an individualised treatment plan prepared by the San team including colorectal cancer specialists. Depending on the stage of cancer at diagnosis, a singular or combination of cancer therapies may be utilised. In the initial stages bowel cancer surgery may be conducted to remove tumours and/or impacted sections of the colon or rectum. The most common type of surgery is a colectomy, where sections or all of the colon are removed.

Taking into consideration of the location, size and nature of the cancer, further treatments may follow such as:

  • Chemotherapy: the use of sophisticated drugs to stop cancer cell growth and/or kill cancer cells, performed before or after surgery.
  • Radiation: a therapy which uses targeted radiation to destroy cancer cells at specific locations, often occurs before surgery.
  • Targeted therapy: where biomarkers or genetics are involved in cancer growth, targeted drugs can be used to inhibit cancer growth.
  • Immunotherapy: boosting the body’s immune system can enhance its ability to attack cancer cells.

The San's advanced radiology, theatre and day infusion units ensure each of these treatments are readily available where specified by the multi-disciplinary teams assisting the bowel cancer patient.

Sydney's Leading Bowel Cancer Treatment Services

Our thorough knowledge of bowel cancer oncology ensures each individual’s treatment follows the most effective approach to facilitate the journey to recovery. Based on Sydney's North Shore, the San team of highly qualified bowel cancer specialists provide the leading edge of current cancer treatments.

Working closely with a dedicated team of nursing professionals, our bowel cancer specialists ensure each patient receives a comprehensive cancer treatment plan based on the latest medical knowledge and evidence-based practice.


The San's team of highly experienced and skilled specialists in bowel cancer oncology provide a comprehensive approach to assist colorectal cancer patients with the early intervention and treatment of bowel cancer.

The San Advantage

  • Comprehensive early screening services
  • Individualised treatment plans
  • Leading-edge facilities and technology
  • Multi-therapy treatment approach
  • Compassionate and professional support