Make sure you get the most complete colorectal cancer treatment available

March 14, 2014

There have been great advances in colorectal cancer surgery in recent years, says Dr. Michael Stamos, chairman of UC Irvine Health Department of Surgery and president of the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons. However, many patients are treated at centers that don’t meet National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines. Not sure if your cancer center follows them? Ask your doctor.

Understand your options when considering the diagnosis.

Stamos says surgery, chemotherapy and, for rectal cancer, radiation are likely treatments for those diagnosed with colorectal cancer.  The earlier the stage, the less intense and invasive the treatment, and the better the outcome.

For Stage I cancers, surgery alone can yield cure rates greater than 95 percent. Stamos says minimally invasive (laparoscopic or robotic) surgery can treat all but the most advanced cases while reducing the patient’s recovery time and decreasing complications.

Stamos says the best way to treat this disease is through prevention. 

“Get your scheduled colonoscopy – the earlier we catch it, the better your chance of survival,” he says. “If we take out a polyp, it never has a chance to turn into cancer.”

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and UC Irvine Health wants to improve your chances of living a long and healthy life – know your risks and get checked out. Beat colorectal cancer before it beats you.

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