Some Advice for Newly Diagnosed Colon Cancer Patients

What can newly diagnosed colon cancer patients expect?

newly diagnosed colon cancer patients“Take a deep breath,” Dr. Lieu tells newly diagnosed colon cancer patients. Getting a cancer diagnosis can be one of the most frightening things to ever happen to a person. After a diagnosis, patients will have to go through a number of tests to determine the best treatment path for them. Patients should read as much as they can about their cancer and write questions for their doctor down. Dr. Lieu advises patients to take treatment one step at a time and not to get worked up over things you may read in the media. It’s important to remember that every cancer and every patient are different. Your team of doctors will make an individualized treatment plan for you. Colon cancer is very treatable with current procedures.

Dr. Lieu: Getting a diagnosis of any cancer can be one of the most frightening things to ever happen to a person and one of the first things that I always recommend to the patients when they get a new diagnosis of cancer is just to take a deep breath. It’s important for patients to understand for colorectal cancer, even at its most advanced stage has become now in this day and age a very treatable cancer.

It can also be very frightening and sometimes frustrating because after receiving a diagnosis of cancer, there are multiple tests that have to be performed, typically a CT scan, laboratory testing and the multiple visits with doctors. What I tell patients is to take things one step at a time. Its always good to read as much as you can about your cancer and then to write down questions and concerns that you have and its important to bring these questions to your doctor, so that you can go through each question in detail and talk about it together.

I also tell patients its important to take things one step at a time because the plan will be made to treat your colorectal cancer and you can go through a million “what if” scenarios which you may either read about or hear about from other people and it’s important to understand that you are individual and just because something has happened to somebody else or that you read something about colorectal cancer online, it may have no applicability to you individually and that’s the job of your physicians and your team of doctors that will be making an individualized plan for you. And it’s also important to understand that you are not alone in this fight that you have your friends in your family close by, but also your team of doctors which include often times surgeon, medical oncologist, the nurses that will be taking care of you or all on your team and that you will go through this journey together with them and they will be fighting right along side you.

Christopher Lieu
Dr. Lieu joined the University of Colorado School of Medicine faculty as an Assistant Professor in July 2011. He trained in internal medicine at the University of Colorado, where he also served as a Chief Medical Resident. He completed his fellowship training in medical oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and served as the Chief Medical Oncology Fellow in 2010.

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