Bowel cancer

Imperial Private Healthcare is part of a leading centre for the treatment of bowel cancer.

Our services at St Mary’s Hospital have an excellent reputation due to the specialist expertise of our clinicians and the pioneering treatments we provide.

We are a high volume centre for colorectal cancer treatment (in the top five centres in Greater London) and we are one of a few centres in the UK offering some treatments for bowel cancer. We receive referrals from across the country and abroad for patients who do not have these treatment options available to them. We are also experts in the management of early rectal cancer.

Our centre offers an extensive bowel cancer screening programme, and we are able to undertake complex procedures including endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR), endoscopic submucosal resection (ESD) and balloon enteroscopy to support our colorectal cancer surgery services.

Your care will be delivered by a consultant of your choice who will work together with a team of cancer experts to recommend a tailored treatment plan and work with you to agree the plan of action.

As well as benefitting from this approach to treatment, you are also be choosing the best hospital for your treatment because:

  • We offer all treatments for bowel cancer from advanced surgical techniques to the latest approaches to chemotherapy (anti-cancer medicines) and radiotherapy (using x-rays to destroy cancer).
  • We are involved in a range of clinical trials through our links with the world-class Imperial College research institution so you will have quicker access to the newest therapies and an opportunity to take part in trials where appropriate.
  • We have state-of-the-art surgical equipment and continuously research new techniques including robotic technology to improve the precision of surgery.

Your diagnosis for bowel cancer

Bowel cancer, also known as colon cancer or rectal cancer, starts in the large bowel and is the fourth most common cancer in the UK.

As one of our patients, we are committed to giving you a fast and accurate diagnosis and access to the best treatment for you as quickly as possible.

Once you are referred to us, we will immediately carry out a range of diagnostic tests. These may include a colonoscopy (using a telescope to see the large bowel), a sigmoidoscopy (using a telescope to see the lower part of the large bowel), scans and blood tests.

Your multi-disciplinary team will then use this information to recommend a treatment plan for your cancer.

Your treatment for bowel cancer

The type of treatment you have will depend on the size and location of your cancer although it will usually involve surgery to remove the tumour or relieve symptoms.

The main treatment options are:

Laparoscopic or key-hole surgery

This uses a tiny incision to remove just the tumour or also a section of the bowel. Imperial Private Healthcare is one of the top centres in Greater London offering this kind of surgery, with 80% of our patients offered this treatment. We are one of few centres to offer single-port laparoscopic surgery which involves a one-inch incision in the abdomen, leading to little or no scarring and potentially a quicker recovery.

HIPEC (hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy)

We are one of only five centres in the UK offering this procedure which delivers high-dose heated chemotherapy treatment to the abdomen during surgery. When used in conjunction with standard chemotherapy it destroys cancer cells more effectively, reducing the chance of cancer recurring and has fewer side effects than standard chemotherapy alone.


You may be offered a combination of chemotherapy before or after surgery to shrink the tumour or destroy any remaining cancer cells.


We have the latest technology to target X-rays very precisely at cancer cells and you may be offered radiotherapy before or after surgery.

Research and new treatments for bowel cancer

We are involved in a wide range of clinical research and are continuously searching for new and better ways to manage bowel cancer.

Our research programme is ongoing and projects have included:

  • Developing new robotic surgery techniques for removing bowel cancer tumours which maximises the precision of surgery.
  • Investigating whether a procedure called high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), which uses heat via a probe to destroy cancer cells, can be effective for early bowel cancer.
  • Investigating the effectiveness of intra-operative radiotherapy, which delivers radiotherapy during surgery, for bowel cancer.
  • Research to find the genetic ‘blueprint’ of tumours in advanced bowel cancer to develop personalised treatments to target these tumours.
Return to Cancer Care main page