The medical professionals directly providing your care:
- A gastroenterologist performs colonoscopies and consults on complications in the liver or
gastrointestinal tract. You can locate a gastroenterologist through the American College of Gastroenterology, the American Gastroenterological Association, or the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
- An experienced general surgeon or colorectal surgeon performs the initial surgery to remove
cancer from your colon or rectum and may perform additional surgery ifyour cancer spreads. Board-certified specialist in colorectal surgery is particularly important if you have rectal cancer or a complicated colon cancer.
- A medical oncologist prescribes and administers chemotherapy and other drug treatment, if necessary. The oncologist may be the person who manages your cancer care overall and develops a follow-up plan after treatment is over. You can search for an oncologist by name, location, or specialty on Cancer.net.l
- A radiation oncologist designs and carries out radiation therapy, particularly if you have cancer in your rectum. Specialized radiation therapy is also used to treat some forms of metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread). You can find an accredited radiation oncology facility through the American College of Radiology.
- Surgeons with specialized training in liver or thoracic (lung) surgery treat metastases to these organs.
- An oncology nurse or nurse practitioner is responsible for administering prescribed chemotherapy and helping you cope with side effects.
Other health professionals who might help on the team:
- Registered dieticians can design an eating plan to help manage a changed intestinal tract, weight gain or loss, poor appetite, nausea, or diarrhea.
- Oncology social workers can help find financial or community resources or provide counseling for you or your family to cope with a cancer diagnosis.
- The American Psychosocial Oncology Society has a toll-free helpline to locate oncology counseling services near your home. Call them at 1-866-276-7443 for confidential help.
- A genetics counselor can help you look at your family medical history and your tumor biology, help decide whether your colorectal cancer might be due to an inherited genetic mutation, and arrange for further genetic testing if necessary.
- An ostomy nurse has specialized training and experience in colostomies and ileostomies. He or she can mark the best place for an ostomy before surgery and help you learn to live successfully with it afterwards.
- As you are treated and recover,you may also benefit from the services of physical or occupational therapists, psychiatrists, or other specialized therapists and counselors.
Finally, the key member of the team is YOU!