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Cancer of the Colon and Rectum

  • Posted: 05/26/2006

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Follow-up Care

Follow-up care after treatment for colorectal cancer is important. Even when the cancer seems to have been completely removed or destroyed, the disease sometimes returns because undetected cancer cells remained somewhere in the body after treatment. Your doctor monitors your recovery and checks for recurrence of the cancer. Checkups help ensure that any changes in health are noted and treated if needed.

Checkups may include a physical exam (including a digital rectal exam), lab tests (including fecal occult blood test and CEA test), colonoscopy, x-rays, CT scans, or other tests.

If you have any health problems between checkups, you should contact your doctor.

You may wish to get the NCI booklet Facing Forward: Life After Cancer Treatment. It answers questions about follow-up care and other concerns. It also describes how to talk with your doctor about making a plan of action for recovery and future health.

This text may be reproduced or reused freely. Please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source. Any graphics may be owned by the artist or publisher who created them, and permission may be needed for their reuse.