Rectal Cancer

Recovery & Follow Up

Follow up treatment is an important part of the rectal cancer care process. The health care team makes every effort to help the patient return to normal activities as soon as possible.

A person who needs a stoma as the result of their rectal cancer treatment needs to learn to care for it. Doctors, nurses, and enterostomal therapists can help. Often, enterostomal therapists visit the person before surgery to discuss what to expect. They teach the person how to care for the stoma after surgery. They talk about lifestyle issues, including emotional, physical, and sexual concerns. Often they can provide information about resources and support groups.

Regular checkups ensure that changes in health are noticed. If the cancer returns or a new cancer develops, it can be treated as soon as possible. Checkups may include a physical exam, a fecal occult blood test, a colonoscopy, chest x-rays, and lab tests. Between scheduled checkups, a person who has had colorectal cancer should report any health problems to the doctor as soon as they appear.

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