What Long-Term Outcome Should Early Stage Colorectal Cancer Patients Expect?

Factors that may determine recurrence for early stage colon cancer patients.

early stage colorectal cancerEarly stage colorectal cancer patients typically have an excellent chance for a long term remission. This is the closest thing to what doctors would would call a cure for colorectal cancer. Dr. Christopher Lieu encourages patients diagnosed with early stage colorectal cancer to meet with multiple doctors. Chief among these doctors would be  a surgical oncologist, who would perform the procedure to remove the cancer.

Dr. Lieu also advises patients diagnosed with early stage colorectal cancer to meet with a medical oncologist. A medical oncologist is a physician that typically establishes a chemotherapy regimen to treat cancer. In addition to this, a medical oncologist will not only give a recommendation for or against chemotherapy, but will also continue to follow the patient long-term to look for any recurrence or signs of recurrence of the colorectal cancer. Dr. Lieu offers more advice in the video below.

Christopher Lieu, MD:  Patients that are diagnosed with early stage colorectal cancer typically have an excellent chance for a long term remission, or what we would call a cure from colorectal cancer.  Patients that are diagnosed with early stage colorectal cancer should expect to meet actually with multiple doctors, primarily being a surgical oncologist or a surgeon who would plan on taking out the cancer.

Patients will also expect me with a medical oncologist, like myself, and I am a physician that typically gives chemotherapy to treat cancer and a medical oncologist will not only give a recommendation for or against chemotherapy, but will also continue to follow the patient long-term to look for any recurrence or signs of recurrence of the colorectal cancer. There are times, particularly if the patient is diagnosed with rectal cancer, that your doctors may actually recommend meeting with a radiation oncologist.

There are times when patients are diagnosed with rectal cancer where a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy will be recommended to best treat the cancer prior to any surgical resection. It’s in these cases that it is really important to have a good multidisciplinary team that includes surgeons, medical doctors, and radiation doctors so that a unified, clear plan can be provided to the patient and so that there is good communication between the team members.

 

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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