Getting Started With Colorectal Cancer Care

If you’ve been newly diagnosed with colon, rectal or anal cancer, you may be asking, “What’s next?” At Henry Ford Health, dedicated nurse navigators guide you through those next steps and prepare you for your first appointment with a colorectal cancer specialist.

Step 1: Connect with a colorectal cancer nurse navigator

Connect with a colorectal cancer nurse navigator at (888) 777-4167 or request an appointment online. This is your first step if you’ve received a colorectal cancer diagnosis, want a second opinion or need a diagnosis for concerning symptoms.

Our nurse navigators have specialized knowledge in gastrointestinal diseases such as colon, rectal and anal cancer. Your navigator is your advocate and point of contact throughout your treatment. They coordinate your appointments, help you manage side effects and answer questions you or your family may have. They can also connect you with financial counselors, social workers or mental health care providers as needed. 

Your nurse navigator will:

  • Learn about your medical history and review any tests you’ve had, such as a diagnostic colonoscopy or biopsy
  • Order additional tests or imaging exams, if necessary, before your first appointment with a colorectal cancer doctor
  • Gather records from other centers if you’ve had tests or started colorectal cancer treatment elsewhere
  • Schedule your first appointment with a colorectal cancer doctor

Step 2: Colorectal cancer tumor board review

One of the many unique aspects of getting colorectal cancer care at Henry Ford is our tumor boards. While some hospitals only discuss the most complex cases or hold general oncology boards, we have weekly boards dedicated exclusively to colon and rectal cancers. We also review each patient’s case, no matter how routine or complex.

A team of experts works together to make an accurate diagnosis and plan your treatment. They consider many factors when building a care plan, including the type of cancer you have and your age, health and lifestyle.

Our colorectal cancer tumor boards include:

  • Surgeons
  • Gastroenterologists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Gastrointestinal pathologists
  • Nurse navigators and clinical trial nurses

Take the next step

Contact the colorectal cancer care team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167 or request an appointment online.

Step 3: Your first appointment with a colorectal cancer doctor

At your first appointment with a doctor, you meet with a surgeon or medical oncologist. In some cases, you may meet with multiple colorectal cancer specialists during the same visit. We explain our findings from the tumor board review and discuss your options for colorectal cancer treatment.

Your nurse navigator will be with you at your first appointment. We also strongly encourage you to bring a family member, friend or caregiver to your appointment. It can help to have another person there with you to take notes and ask questions.

During this meeting, you learn about:

  • The type of cancer you have and its stage (if and how far it has spread)
  • The risks and benefits of each treatment option
  • What you can expect before, during and after treatment
  • Your prognosis (predicted outcome), if you choose to have this discussion
  • Colorectal cancer clinical trials that may be available to you
Newly diagnosed?

Contact the cancer team 24/7 by calling (888) 777-4167.


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