Colon or rectal cancer that has spread or returned is diagnosed using a physical exam and several tests, including blood tests, chest X-rays, bone scans, ultrasounds, and CT, PET, or MRI scans.
The diagnosis is usually confirmed with a biopsy. During this test, your doctor will take tissue samples from any areas that don't look normal. The tissue will be looked at under a microscope to see if it contains cancer.
If you have been treated for colon or rectal cancer in the past, it's important to have regular checkups to find any new cancer as soon as possible.
Colon and rectal cancers that have spread or returned may be cured in some cases. Treatment may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. When the cancer cannot be cured, treatment can help you feel better and live longer.
Learning that you have cancer that has spread or come back can be very hard. Some people find that it helps to talk about their feelings with their family and friends. You may also want to talk with your doctor or with other people who have had this kind of cancer. Your local American Cancer Society chapter can help you find a support group.
Learning about metastatic and recurrent colorectal cancer: