Colon Cancer Diagnosis, Treatment and Support Programs

This page was originally published March 11, 2020 and updated July 2, 2024.

Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the United States.  According to the American Cancer Society 2022 Facts & Figures, approximately 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women will be diagnosed with colon cancer at some point during their lifetime. Each year, there are more than 140,000 new cases of colon cancer diagnosed in the United States. Due to early detection and improved treatments, more people are surviving colon cancer than ever before. There is still more to do, however, and that starts with knowing risk factors, recognizing symptoms, and getting help early. And for anyone who has been diagnosed, financial support programs are available nationwide that help for free. Please visit the three programs below and see this link for more national nonprofits that can help you today. ❤️

Diagnosis and Treatment of Colon Cancer

There are a number of tests that can be used to diagnose colon cancer. The most common is a colonoscopy, which is a procedure in which a doctor uses a thin, flexible tube to look inside the colon and rectum for signs of cancer. Other tests that may be used include a barium enema (in which x-rays are used to examine the colon), a CT scan or MRI, and a blood test to check for markers that may indicate cancer. If your doctor suspects that you have colon cancer, they will order one or more of these tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Once your doctor has made a diagnosis, they will develop a treatment plan based on clinical guidelines and your own preferences. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to remove tumors or polyps from the colon. You may also be advised that radiation therapy or chemotherapy are appropriate treatment options for you. Surgery is often the main treatment for colon cancer. Depending on the stage of your disease, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove tumors or polyps from the colon. In some cases, a total colectomy (removal of the entire colon) may be necessary. There are a number of chemotherapy treatments available for colon cancer. Common treatments include fluorouracil (FU), leucovorin (LV), and oxaliplatin as well as newer therapies that work alongside of or in place of chemo including cetuximab, bevacizumab, and panitumumab. The goal of these therapies is to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and slowing their spread.

Tumor Profiling

Molecular profiling is a critical tool in treating colon cancer. This allows oncologists to identify which drugs will be most effective in treating your particular cancer. Your oncology care team can then develop a personalized treatment plan that is tailored to your needs. Molecular profiling is also used to predict how well you may respond to certain treatments, so that you can make informed decisions about your care. Because of advances in molecular profiling, more and more patients are able to benefit from precision medicine for colon cancer. Precision treatment takes into account the unique characteristics of each patient’s tumor, allowing doctors to target the cancer with the most appropriate drugs. As studies have shown, patients are more likely to experience fewer side effects and better outcomes.

Free Support Services

There are a number of national support organizations available for colon cancer patients and their families, and there is never a fee to take advantage of their programs. These nonprofit organizations exist to meet the specific and unique needs of colon cancer patients and include the American Cancer Society, the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, and the Patient Advocate Foundation. More zero-cost programs, products and services are listed here in our directory.

Exact Science Genomic Access Program (GAP)

GAP helps colorectal cancer patients with insurance or without get access to genomic testing. Eligibility is based on financial need. To use the online calculator to see if you qualify for free testing and to download the Financial Assistance Disclosure and Application Form, please visit this link and scroll to the bottom for the eligibility tool. Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, simply download the Financial Assistance Disclosure and Application Form to get started. The GAP program aims to ensure that your financial circumstances do not hinder your fight against colorectal cancer. Complete the online process above to qualify or call (888) 662-6897, option 2, for help over the phone.

❤️ Visit our national directory for more free financial assistance programs for colon cancer patients.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance

colon cancer colorectal cancer alliance

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance is a nonprofit organization that provides personalized support to patients and families. They offer an assistance hotline, online support groups, and, in addition, this organization offers certified patient navigators that work one-on-one with colorectal cancer patients to provide financial assistance, improve quality of care, and lend emotional support during and after diagnosis. Services are free. To request a certified patient navigator to provide individualized help, please visit the link above or call the helpline at (877) 422-2030 for immediate assistance.

PAF Colorectal CareLine

Colon Cancer PAF Colon Cancer Help

The PAF Colorectal CareLine (PAF) provides specialized support programs for colon cancer patients. PAF provides financial assistance to patients who need help covering living expenses and the cost of care. The PAF Colorectal CareLine program helps patients who have a diagnosis of colon cancer, bowel cancer, and cancer of the rectum, large intestine or appendix. The CareLine program provides you with free, individualized case management help to you with overcoming financial barriers to getting the care you need. To obtain assistance from a skilled advocate, please complete this form or call 800-532-5274, option 2.

❤️ Visit this link for other free professional case management programs for colon cancer patients.

The Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF)

The Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) provides an extensive range of services for cancer patients, designed to support them both medically and financially. PAF’s Case Management Services offer personalized assistance, guiding patients through their health care journey, addressing insurance complexities, and ensuring access to care. The Co-Pay Relief Program (CPR) provides direct financial aid to eligible patients, covering insurance co-payments associated with their treatment. Additionally, the National Financial Resource Directory helps patients find resources specific to their diagnosis and location. PAF’s services aim to provide a comprehensive support network, reducing the burdens cancer patients face during their treatment journey.

❤️ Visit the national directory for more support programs for caregivers and families.

Get Personalized Help for Free

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with colon cancer, we know this is a very stressful and upsetting time. We also want you to know there are many national nonprofit organizations that exist to help you right now at no cost to you. From financial support to peer counseling, to free care packages to help boost spirits, these programs, products, and services are available to you now at zero cost. Please reach out now to get the help you deserve through treatment and beyond. ❤️

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  1. I have not been diagnosed but I am going through the process of screening for colon cancer. Thanks for the information.

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