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Specialists Who Treat Colorectal Cancer

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Fighting colorectal cancer often requires a number of different treatments: chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. No single doctor can handle all aspects of your treatment for colorectal cancer. Here's how to assemble a team of experts to help you.

What kinds of colorectal cancer specialists are there?

With the guidance of your primary physician, your team may include these specialists:

  • A medical oncologist, who will oversee your medical treatment and prescribe chemotherapy
  • A radiation oncologist, who will treat you with radiation
  • A colorectal surgeon, a general surgeon, or a surgical oncologist, who will perform surgery

You might also work with other health care professionals at the hospital, including nurses, pathologists, and other specialists.

In addition, you might want to seek out others who can help with needs related to colorectal cancer treatment. You could check in with a dietitian to make sure you're getting the right nutrients during treatment. You might also want to see a therapist -- such as a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist -- to help you cope with the emotional effects of cancer and the treatment process. Members of your family might benefit from therapy, as well.

How do I look for a colorectal cancer specialist?

In your search for colorectal cancer specialists, start with your primary care doctor. He or she will be able to recommend colorectal cancer specialists in your area. You could also try looking at the web sites of local hospitals. Or you could consult national organizations, like the American College of Surgeons or the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

If you're lucky enough to live in an area with a specialized cancer treatment center, you should consider starting there.

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