Being told you have colorectal cancer can be scary, and you may have many questions. But you have people on your healthcare team to help.
It’s normal to feel afraid. Learning about your cancer and about the treatment options you have can make you feel less afraid. This also helps you work with your healthcare team and make the best choices for your treatment. You can also ask to speak with a counselor.
Your healthcare team will likely include:
Gastroenterologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the digestive system.
Surgical oncologist (oncologic surgeon). This is a doctor who uses surgery to treat cancer.
Medical oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy.
Radiation oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation.
Many other healthcare professionals will be part of your team as well. They will answer any questions you may have. They’ll help you through each of the steps you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests you need and the results of those tests. They’ll guide you in making treatment decisions and help prepare you and your loved ones for what’s ahead.
To decide the best course of treatment for you, your healthcare team needs to know as much as they can about your cancer. This may involve getting some tests and working with more than one healthcare provider. And you may decide that you want to get a second opinion to help you choose a treatment.
Coping with cancer can be very stressful. Talk with your healthcare team about seeing a counselor. They can refer you to someone who can help. You can also visit support groups to talk with other people coping with cancer. Ask your healthcare team about local support groups.