Why Choose Us

Why Choose Us

The Cleveland Clinic Center for Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer is dedicated to the care of patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer before the age of 50. While a cancer diagnosis at any age requires specialized care, young people with colorectal cancer face unique challenges and concerns. Our center is composed of a multidisciplinary team of experts who provide young colorectal cancer patients coordinated, comprehensive, and individualized care with the goal of optimizing oncologic outcomes, quality of life, and psycho-social wellbeing.

Diagnosis, Treatments & Procedures

Diagnosis, Treatments & Procedures

Program coordinators

Navigating through multidisciplinary cancer care can often be confusing and overwhelming. Our center includes coordinators dedicated to the care of patients with young-onset colorectal cancer. Their primary goal is to facilitate and coordinate the scheduling of appointments and personalized referrals based on a specific patient’s needs. Our coordinators are here to make this process as easy as possible for our patients.

Colorectal surgery

As part of the multidisciplinary team, our surgeons, who specialized in oncologic colorectal surgery, utilize advanced techniques to minimize the risk for cancer recurrence while maintaining optimal quality of life and allowing for accelerated recovery and return to work/family life.

  • Laparoscopic/robotic surgery and endoluminal surgery (ESD, TAMIS).
  • Surgery for recurrent and/or metastatic colorectal cancer.
  • Cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC.
  • Enhanced Recovery after Surgery (ERAS).

Oncology

Patients with young-onset colorectal cancer are provided with a comprehensive and personalized treatment plan by our oncologists specialized in gastrointestinal malignancies. Oncologic treatment during all phases of care, including the neoadjuvant (pre-surgical), and adjuvant (post-surgical) periods is individualized based on a patient’s tumor characteristics and genetic makeup, medical history, and goals of care.

Oncology nutrition

Our registered dietitians offer:

  • One-on-one appointment (virtually, by phone, or in person) to address any nutrition-related concerns.
  • Help with gradual, intentional weight management. 
  • Help with managing any nutrition-related symptoms that occur during chemotherapy or radiation to prevent unintentional weight loss.
  • Help with any changes in eating and digestion that may occur after surgery.
  • Help with nutrition and survivorship post-treatment.

Our appointments are free of charge for any patient actively going through treatment and for up to 1 year after treatment ends.

Radiation oncology

Our team of radiation oncology physicians provides comprehensive care individualized for each patient at all phases of their treatment journey: prior to initiation of radiation treatment, during radiation treatment, and after radiation treatment/survivorship. Our cutting-edge technology and tools coupled with compassionate physicians, nurses, and staff with significant expertise in the care of colorectal cancers that allows us to create and deliver optimal treatment plans for each patient with the goal of minimizing toxicity and side effects. Providers work within the context of a multidisciplinary team to provide exceptional care to our patients.

Liver & thoracic surgery

Young patients are more frequently diagnosed with colorectal cancer at an advanced stage, with cancer spread to other organs, such as the liver or lungs. To maximize survival and cure, our patients are seen by liver and thoracic surgeons who are specialized in treating colorectal metastases, utilizing state-of-the-art surgical procedures, including:

  • Minimally invasive liver resection and microwave ablation.
  • ALPPS procedure.
  • Liver transplantation.
  • Minimally invasive lung resection (VATS).

Gastroenterology

Young patients with a history of colorectal cancer and their first-degree relatives are at increased risk of developing colorectal polyps and cancers. Our team of gastroenterologists with expertise in high-risk colorectal cancer screening and surveillance, help guide risk-based colonoscopic surveillance protocols for patients and their family members.

Genetic counseling

Colorectal cancer in young people is more commonly associated with an inherited genetic syndrome than in older people. These inherited conditions can be detected by a simple blood draw. Genetic testing results can guide treatment and future screening for the patient and their family. We therefore recommend that all patients with young-onset colorectal cancer have a consultation with a genetic counselor to discuss genetic testing options. Genetic testing is typically covered by insurance and billing is discussed during your appointment. If testing reveals a hereditary colorectal cancer predisposition, patients will be referred to our hereditary colorectal cancer registry (Weiss Center) for further specialized care.

Male fertility and sexual health

Cancer and its treatment can sometimes impact fertility and sexual health in men. Our center includes specialized physicians who can assist with:

  • Fertility preservation, such as sperm banking before initiation of treatment.
  • Fertility services after treatment.
  • Evaluation and treatment of sexual function concerns, such as erectile dysfunction and ejaculatory abnormalities.

To schedule an appointment, please call 216.445.8640.

Female fertility preservation

Many young women undergoing cancer treatment have concerns about their ability to conceive children in the future. Our Fertility Preservation Program provides comprehensive reproductive care to facilitate family planning by providing:

  • Fertility preservation services, including egg, embryo, and ovarian tissue freezing.
  • Fertility preserving surgery.
  • Suppressing ovarian activity during chemotherapy.
  • Consultations on the impact of cancer treatments on fertility.
  • Fertility services after treatment.

To schedule an appointment, please call 216.444.1858.

Female hormone and sexual health

Women with a history of colorectal cancer can have complex women’s health needs. Our Subspecialty Women’s Health Program addresses issues related to hormonal changes and sexual health. We utilize a comprehensive team-based approach for evidence-based treatment options addressing:

  • Menopausal health, including hormonal and non-hormonal treatment options.
  • A comprehensive sexual health program for any woman, with special emphasis on the most appropriate treatments after a diagnosis of cancer.
  • Hormonal and non-hormonal treatments for osteoporosis.

To schedule an appointment, please call 216.445.2720.

Maternal fetal medicine

Patients who receive a cancer diagnosis during pregnancy or who have undergone cancer treatment prior to pregnancy face unique challenges. As part of our interdisciplinary team of experts, a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist (high-risk pregnancy expert) will:

  • Provide individualized care from preconception through pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period.
  • Guide the provision of the most effective cancer treatment that can be administered safely during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Monitor the condition of the mother/baby during pregnancy and guide delivery timing to achieve optimal outcomes.
  • Discuss options for perinatal genetic diagnosis and management of other chronic medical conditions during pregnancy.
  • Provide postpartum contraceptive planning and guide transition from pregnancy to ongoing care with the interdisciplinary oncology team.

To schedule an appointment, please call 216.444.5368.

Psychology

Young adults confronted with a cancer diagnosis face challenges outside of everyday experience that may include: disruption of life plans (work/education/dating/relationship/family), decisions about treatment, parenting while ill, reshuffling family roles, communication and social support, managing symptoms (fatigue, pain, sleep, moods) and coping with uncertainty. Our team includes licensed clinical psychologists with expertise in providing psychological support to young people with cancer, including:

  • Brief psychotherapy for coping skills and problem-solving.
  • Ongoing psychotherapy for anxiety, depression, and stress-related symptoms.
  • Consultation for specific issues (e.g., how to talk to children about illness and treatment).

To schedule an appointment, please call 216.636.5860.

Social work

A cancer diagnosis can be frightening and stressful. Social workers at Taussig Cancer Center offer support to help patients and families cope with challenges related to cancer.

Social workers offer:

  • Counseling support for patients and care partners.
  • Assistance with financial, insurance, disability, and employment concerns.
  • Support and assistance with Advance Care Planning (Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will).
  • Advocacy to help you navigate the health care system and access support services.
  • Assistance with mental health referrals.

To contact a Taussig Cancer Institute social worker, please call the toll-free line at 833.291.3438.

Lifestyle

We also encourage young patients with colorectal cancer to see one of our experts at the Department of Wellness and Preventative Medicine for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine Consults. Utilizing a holistic approach, our providers cover a variety of concerns including cancer prevention, lifestyle modification, and cancer treatment-induced symptom palliation.

  • Nutrition counseling, dietary intervention, weight management, vitamin/supplement counseling.
  • Stress management practices.
  • Natural treatment of symptoms associated with cancer and its treatments including: Acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage therapy, yoga, personal training, and mind-body psychotherapy.

For questions and appointments, please call 216.448.4325.

Palliative medicine

Palliative medicine is a form of specialized medical care for people living with serious illnesses (including stage IV cancer), designed to provide relief from both the symptoms and stress of this illness. Palliative care integrated alongside cancer-directed treatment has been shown in some patients with metastatic cancer to improve quality of life and even survival. The palliative medicine team can assist young-onset colorectal cancer patients and their families with:

  • Management of physical symptoms (pain, nausea).
  • Assistance with medical decision-making, ensuring treatments pursued are consistent with big-picture goals.
  • Assistance with advanced care planning and planning for all future possible outcome scenarios (best case/worst case).
Meet Our Team

Meet Our Team

Leadership

David Liska, MD
David Liska, MD
Department Chair

Colorectal Surgery

Hematology/Oncology

Radiation Oncology

Liver Surgery

Federico Aucejo, MD
Federico Aucejo, MD
Director Liver Cancer Program
Choon H David Kwon, MD, PhD
Choon H David Kwon, MD, PhD
Section Head of Hepatopancreaticobiliary surgery

Thoracic Surgery

Gastroenterology

Carol Burke, MD
Carol Burke, MD
Vice Chair, Research and Education
Carole Macaron, MD
Carole Macaron, MD
Associate Staff

Research

Stephanie Schmit, PhD
Stephanie Schmit, PhD
Associate Staff

Genetics

Sarah McGee
Sarah McGee, MS, CGC
Associate Staff

Integrative Medicine

Oncology Nutrition

  • Mia Walsh
  • Lisa Reitz

Pathology

Psychology

Female Fertility Preservation, Maternal Care, and Sexual Health

  • Amanda Maggiotto

Maternal Fetal Medicine

Male Fertility Preservation and Sexual Health

Social Work

  • Nancy Tamburro
  • Casie Helkowski

Coordinators

Jacob Mansell
Jacob Mansell

Hereditary Coordinators

Lisa Laguardia | Cleveland Clinic
Lisa Laguardia, RN
Margaret O'Malley | Cleveland Clinic
Margaret O’Malley
  • Ana Vazquez Villasenor

Administration

Sarah McClaren
Sarah McClaren

Patient Advisory Board

The patient advisory board consists of patients and survivors who provide insight as to how the Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Center can provide better care for both current and future patients.

Make an Appointment

Make an Appointment

To schedule an appointment or learn about our services, please call us at 216.444.5731 or email us at yocrc@ccf.org.

The young-onset colorectal cancer caregivers offer appointments at many Cleveland Clinic locations and some may be able to schedule an appointment virtually. Please call our office or visit our website to see what scheduling options may be available to you.

Patient Resources

Patient Resources

Cleveland Clinic resources

In the news

Patient stories

Other resources

  • Parenting at a Challenging Time
    • Provides parent guidance consultations to parents with cancer and their partners
  • Cancer Support Community
    • Offers unique support for people with cancer and their loved ones.
  • American Cancer Society
    • Provides information regarding different types of cancer, treatment, etc.
  • CancerCare
    • Provides free professional support services including resource navigation, counseling, support groups, educational workshops, publications and financial assistance to anyone affected by cancer.
  • Save My Fertility
    • Resource for adult cancer patients and the parents of children who cancer who want to learn more about preserving their fertility before and during cancer treatment and protecting their hormonal health after treatment.
  • Let’s Take Charge
    • Offers fertility preservation education, outlines options for each gender and age range, and provides resources.
  • Livestrong Fertility
    • Comprehensive fertility preservation resource for patients whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility.
  • Verna’s Purse
    • Financial assistance program for those in need of fertility services.
  • Team Maggie’s Dream
    • Provides fertility preservation grants to cancer patients.
  • Camp Kesem
    • Supports children ages 6-18 whose parents have cancer through programs and services such as camps, care packages, local gatherings, etc.
  • Wonders & Worries
    • Free professional support for children 2-18 through a parent’s illness. Offers individual and group sessions, events, a podcast for parents, and more.
  • Pickles Group
    • Provides free peer-to-peer support and resources to kids ages 6-18 affected by their parent or guardian’s cancer.
For Medical Professionals

For Medical Professionals

Young-Onset GI Cancers: Emerging Data and Practical Applications

The Young-Onset GI Cancers: Emerging Data and Practical Applications Research Symposium focuses on raising knowledge and awareness of the incidence of gastrointestinal malignancies (particularly colorectal cancer) rising among people less than 50. The goal is to better understand its pathophysiology, epidemiology, relationship with microbiomics, and impact on treatment choices and outcomes. Oncologists, surgeons, nurses, physician assistants, researchers, and residents/fellows with an interest in GI cancers are invited to attend.

The next symposium is anticipated for 2024.

Referrals

  • To refer a patient to the Center for Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer, please call 216.444.5731 or email YOCRC@ccf.org. For referrals, please call our Referring Physician Hotline 855.REFER.123 (855.733.3712), available every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST.

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Research

Research

Published articles

Abstracts