Colorectal cancer: key questions after diagnosis

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Questions like 'can I heal?' They are essential after the diagnosis.

The Colorectal cancer It is one of the most frequent in Spain. In fact, 44,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and 25 percent of these diagnoses are in a metastatic state, that is, the cancer has spread to other tissues or organs of the body.

The reason why it occurs at an advanced stage of the disease is that there are no screening programs nationwide that diagnose patients in early stages, so, as pointed out by Alfredo Carrato, head of the Medical Oncology Service, of the University Hospital Ramón y Cajal, in Madrid, and professor at the University of Alcalá, the start-up of these programs in the population over 50 years old, with a fecal occult blood test, would help to reduce that percentage.

The time to face the diagnosis is hard for the patient and often these do not have the necessary strength to get involved and take on the disease. Given this Carrato indicates that it is crucial that the patient knows that it is a disease with possibilities of healing (60 percent get it), even if disseminated is diagnosed. “You have to put yourself in the hands of a good multidisciplinary team with experience (medical oncologist, surgeon, gastroenterologist, pathologist, radiologist, psychologist, etc.) that will achieve the best result for each patient”, emphasizes the importance of the multidisciplinary approach.

Know the disease

The expert indicates that the first step to assume the diagnosis is to know the disease and discover that his case is a frequent tumor that can be cured. Regarding where the patient can be informed, he emphasizes that it is important that he goes to accredited sources that will help him to know the disease in a reliable way. Starting with your oncologist, who will inform you in detail about the possibilities and the treatment strategy.

“The best way to deal with the diagnosis of colorectal cancer is to team up with your family and with the doctors who treat you to fight the disease with all the supports, contact patient associations where you will get help and get a second opinion when in doubt. reasonable, “adds Carrato.

The visit to the oncologist usually raises many doubts and, frequently, the patient does not know what he should know and question. Carrato highlights some essential questions that you should keep in mind:

  • Can I heal?
  • Does the Medical Oncology Service have clinical trials that offer me an advantage over standard treatment?
  • What are the possible side effects of the treatment?
  • How can I prevent side effects?

Other questions you can ask the oncologist are:

  • What are the best treatment options in my case?
  • How can I know if I am a candidate for precision therapy?
  • What is the purpose of the treatment you propose to me?
  • Where will I receive the treatment?
  • Who will be part of the team that treats me and who will coordinate the treatment?
  • How will the treatment influence my daily life?
  • Will I be able to continue working, continue with my normal life or play sports?
  • Can the treatment affect my fertility and my sexuality?
  • Should I talk to a fertility specialist or a sex therapist before starting treatment?
  • Who can I call if I have doubts?
  • What kind of complementary services exist that I and / or my family can use?

See also:

Colorectal cancer: what do we need to know?

How much do we know about colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer: what role does tumor localization play?

Liquid biopsy, the future revolution to fight cancer

Nearly half of Spaniards will suffer cancer

Colon cancer: early detection is key


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