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Colorectal Cancer, Ambulatory Care
starts in the large intestine (colon) or rectum.
Common symptoms include the following:
- Bloody or black bowel movements
- Abdominal pain or cramps, or a feeling of fullness
- Frequent fatigue or weakness
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Rectal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
Call 911 for any of the following:
- Warm, tender, swollen, red, and painful arm or leg
- Chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough
- Suddenly feeling lightheaded and short of breath
- Coughing up blood
Treatment for colorectal cancer
may include any of the following:
- Surgery may be needed to remove part of your colon, rectum, or lymph nodes. This may help stop the cancer from spreading.
- Targeted therapy is medicine used to target specific cancer cells and kill them.
- Chemotherapy medicine is used to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may also be used to shrink the tumor or lymph nodes before surgery. Once the tumor is smaller, surgery can be done to remove the cancer.
- Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells with x-rays or gamma rays. Radiation may be given after surgery to kill cancer cells that were not removed. It may be given alone or with chemotherapy.
Get screened as directed:
Your healthcare provider may want you to have a yearly colonoscopy to check for colorectal cancer. Screening is recommended for all men and women older than 50 years. You may need to get screened earlier if you have colon disease or a family history of colorectal cancer.
Manage your colorectal cancer:
- Do not smoke. Smoking increases your risk for new or returning cancer. Smoking can also delay healing after treatment. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help quitting.
- Limit or do not drink alcohol as directed. Men should limit alcohol to 2 drinks per day. Women should limit alcohol to 1 drink per day. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.
- Drink liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you. If you have nausea or diarrhea from cancer treatment, extra liquids may help decrease your risk for dehydration.
- Eat healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. You may need to change what you eat during treatment. Do not eat foods or drink liquids that cause gas, such as cabbage, beans, onions, or soda. A nutritionist may help to plan the best meals and snacks for you.
- Exercise as directed. Ask about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise may improve your energy levels and appetite.
Follow up with your oncologist as directed:
You will need to see your oncologist for ongoing treatment and follow-up. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.