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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Colorectal cancer starts in the large intestine (colon) or rectum.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
It is important that you get good nutrition. Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods may help you feel better and have more energy. If you have trouble swallowing, you may be given foods that are soft or in liquid form. Ask your healthcare provider about any extra nutrition you may need, such as nutrition shakes or vitamins. Tell your healthcare provider if you have problems eating, or if you feel sick after you eat.
- Antinausea medicine may be given to calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
- Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
- Blood tests may be used to check for a chemical called carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). CEA in your blood is a sign that you have colorectal cancer.
- An ultrasound may be done to find the location of the tumor.
- A barium enema is an x-ray of the colon. A tube is put into your anus, and a liquid called barium is put through the tube. Barium is used so that healthcare providers can see your colon better on the x-ray film.
- A colonoscopy is a test that is done to look at your colon. A tube with a light on the end will be put into your anus, and then moved forward into your colon. Your healthcare provider may take tissue samples during the colonoscopy to be tested for cancer.
- An x-ray, CT, or MRI may be used to examine the tumor and see if the cancer has spread. You may be given contrast liquid to help healthcare providers see the tumor better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
- A bone scan may show if the cancer has spread to your bones. This test may be done if you have bone pain.
- 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 that is used to target specific cancer cells and kill them.
- Chemotherapy (chemo) medicine is used to kill cancer cells. Chemo 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. Chemo may be used to decrease the risk that cancer will come back after surgery.
- Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells with x-rays or gamma rays. Radiation may be given either before or after surgery to kill cancer cells. It may be given alone or with chemotherapy.
You may get a blood clot in your leg. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke. Even with treatment, you may still have cancer, or the cancer may return. Colorectal cancer that is not treated can spread to other parts of your body, such as your liver.
CARE AGREEMENT:You 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.
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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.