What to Expect From Colorectal Cancer Care
We seek to provide the best possible colorectal cancer care. We’ll be by your side every step of the way, starting with your first appointment. Your care and comfort are our top priorities, and we support you and your family from diagnosis through survivorship. We provide everything you need to manage the challenges of colon or rectal cancer.
Learn more about:
What is Henry Ford’s approach to colorectal cancer care?
We believe in a team approach to personalized cancer care. We design our treatments around you — your needs, overall health, age, lifestyle and other factors.
Some hospital teams only discuss the most complex cancer cases. At our weekly tumor board meeting, we discuss every patient who has a biopsy done, developing a personalized care plan for each. As many as 15 doctors study your case as part of these meetings, and they’ll discuss the best treatments to recommend for your care.
Our tumor board includes:
- Surgeons who specialize in colorectal surgery
- Gastroenterologists (doctors who specialize in the digestive tract)
- Medical oncologists (cancer specialists in chemotherapy and other medications)
- Radiation oncologists (doctors who specialize in radiation therapy for cancer)
- Gastrointestinal pathologists (professionals who study cells and specialize in diagnosing gastrointestinal disease)
- Nurse navigators and clinical trial nurses
What can I expect at my first appointment after diagnosis?
We strongly encourage you to bring a family member, a friend or another caregiver to your appointment. It can help to have another person there with you to take notes and ask questions.
First appointment: who you’ll meet and what you’ll learn
During your appointment, you will:
- Meet your nurse navigator, who will serve as your point of contact throughout your treatment and answer any questions you and your family may have
- Meet with your surgeon
- Learn about the stage of the cancer
- Learn about the treatment options we recommend
- Understand what to expect before, during and after treatment
- Schedule appointments with other doctors who will care for you
- Schedule any additional tests
First appointment: goals
Your first appointment will focus on four goals:
- Receiving patient education: Your nurse navigator will describe the treatment process, introduce you to our specialists and explain our comprehensive patient support services.
- Understanding your diagnosis: Your surgeon will explain your treatment plan to you. Genetic conditions cause some types of colorectal cancer. In these cases, the team will discuss genetic testing through the Cancer Genetics Program to understand the diagnosis and what options we can offer your family.
- Arranging personalized treatment: Our nurse navigators will help you get started with the appointments you need for your personalized treatment plan.
- Preparing for follow-up care: Some patients need to have a short- or long-term ostomy. If your team expects you will need this, an ostomy nurse practitioner will answer your questions and teach you what’s involved in ostomy care.