Treating Colorectal Cancer

There are four major treatments for colorectal cancer. They are surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and biologic therapy. Other kinds of treatment are being studied in clinical trials. Each treatment has its own goals. Learn More ›

How Does My Doctor Know I Have Colorectal Cancer?

If you have symptoms of colorectal cancer, your doctor will want to know why. To find out, your doctor is likely to ask you questions about the following things.

  • Your medical history

  • Your family history of cancer

  • Your lifestyle habits, including your diet, whether you smoke, and how active you are

Your doctor may also ask for tests to check for colorectal cancer. Some of these tests are the same ones that are used for screening people who have no symptoms. The doctor could ask for any of these tests.

  • Digital rectal exam. This is an exam of your rectum. Your doctor inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum to feel for lumps or abnormal areas.

Learn more about treatments for colorectal cancer

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What Happens During Surgery for Colorectal Cancer

Before you go for surgery, you will meet with your surgeon to talk about the procedure. At this time, you can ask any questions and discuss any concerns you may have. This is also a good time to review the possible side effects of the surgery and to talk about its risks. You might ask if the surgery will leave scars and what those scars will look like. You might also want to ask when you can expect to return to your normal activities. After you have discussed all the details with the surgeon, you will sign a consent form that says that the doctor can perform the surgery.

Learn more about what happens during surgery for colorectal cancer

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