Colorectal Cancer: Your Treatment Questions Answered

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I think once someone is told that they, potentially, have metastatic colon cancer, the first question to ask is, where is the tumor, exactly? A lot of patients have to get over the shock of hearing that they have either metastatic cancer, which many people don't even understand, or they're told they have Stage IV colon cancer. And without a relativity metric, they're not even sure what Stage IV means.

I think the second question is, what sort of strategy are they going to use to either diagnose it and then to treat it? I think the most important thing is for patients to understand, is there a curative intent at some point? Or is it that it's not necessarily curable, but treatable.

Many people with Stage IV cancer are still curable. And a lot of other cancers, with Stage IV, you wouldn't even think about the chance for a cure. And so I think the question would be, what do I expect in follow-up after I have a colon cancer to determine if I develop metastatic disease?

It does require actually paying attention to symptoms. But, more importantly, it involves a very rigid and well-defined treatment plan, as far as getting the appropriate scans to look out for recurrence.