Diagnosing Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States with nearly 50,000 deaths in 2011. The risk of colon cancer is one in 20 (5.1 percent). These sobering numbers highlight the importance of screening colonoscopies and follow-up exams as recommended by your physician.
Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) is committed to providing the highest quality of colorectal cancer care in Northeast Georgia. We endorse the following regular screenings:
• A colonoscopy at age 45 and a yearly fecal occult blood testing (FOBT)
• Patients at higher risk should begin screenings earlier and may need screenings more frequently.
Talk with your doctor about earlier screenings if you have:
• a personal history of colorectal cancer, adenomatous polyps or inflammatory bowel disease
• a family history of colorectal cancer and polyps
Navigating Your Treatment Options
At NGMC, our team of physicians and other professionals will help you navigate the many choices available to you for treatment and develop a plan that best meets your unique disease and situation. From surgery to nutrition support and pastoral care, our goal is to help you live life as fully as possible throughout your treatment and in your life as a cancer survivor. NGMC offers a Patient Navigation Program to guide you through your cancer journey.
Primary surgical therapy for colon cancer is partial colectomy (removing the affected section of colon). In the past, this has been done through a large open incision. However, during the past 10 years, the trend has moved toward a minimally invasive approach. Minimally invasive, or laparoscopic, surgery for colon cancer has become the gold standard for primary surgical therapy. Laparoscopic colon resection for cancer, in experienced hands, can be performed safely and reliably with many short-term benefits to the patients, while reducing infection risks and resulting in long-term outcomes that are at least equivalent to open surgery.
At NGMC, we continue to be leaders in the fight against colorectal cancer. Our surgeons have adopted laparoscopic colectomy as our gold standard for primary surgical therapy for colon cancer. Our rate of laparoscopic versus open surgery for primary surgical treatment is far ahead of the national rate, which is a testament to the training and dedication of our surgeons to be on the cutting edge of advanced surgical therapies for cancer.
NGMC's survival and screening rates continue to beat national benchmarks.
Chemotherapy and Radiation
If colon cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, patients may receive chemotherapy to reduce tumor size, alleviate pain and prolong life. Chemotherapy may be used before or following surgery. You may receive your chemotherapy treatments in your physician's office or in the hospital's chemotherapy infusion suites. Radiation is generally used to reduce tumors affecting the rectum. Click here to learn more about NGMC's radiation oncology services.
Northeast Georgia Medical Center actively participates in clinical trials to make the latest treatments available to our patients and to advance the treatment options available to patients around the world who are fighting cancer. Click here to learn more about colorectal clinical trials underway now.
Northeast Georgia Medical Center provides other valuable resources to guide you through your cancer care and to answer questions after you have completed your treatment for colorectal cancer. To learn more about our extensive support network from financial counseling to pastoral care, click here.
For more information about care care at NGMC, please call 770-219-8800.