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Post-Treatment – Cancer What Now
What Now?

Your Colorectal Cancer Treatment & Recovery Online Resource in Alberta

Answers, insights & inspiration

Step 5: Post-Treatment Care

What’s next after all of this?

Once you have completed all elements of your treatment Radiation Surgery or Chemotherapy, you will begin a cancer surveillance program. For most patients at the end of treatment we will not be able detect any cancer. This doesn’t mean that you are cancer free but that if there are any cancer cells left behind they are too small to detect with our current best technology. There is a small chance that the cancer could come back. The purpose of follow up is to monitor side effects and look for recurrences. This is a 3 year program. The cancer centre coordinates your care with your surgeon and family doctor. There are a series of blood tests (CEA) and exams needed to monitor your health. You must be an active partner to ensure your health.

Cancer Surveillance Program

CEA – is a special blood test

CT Scan

 

Learn more:

  • Colon cancer Surveillance click here

 

Am I cured?

There are allot of myths about “Cure”. It is a word with many different meanings and feelings. For most patients Cure – means that the cancer is gone and that they will live the remainder of their lives healthy and cancer free. Cure means many things to many people. For doctors it is impossible to know if a specific patient has been cured or not. All we can do is predict the chances of being alive 5 or 10 years after treatment. “Prognosis” is the best estimate of your “chances” there are many ways to describe this:

  • Overall survival             Chance of being alive in 5 or 10 years
  • Disease free survival    Average time for a recurrence to be detected
  • Median survival            Average lifespan of a patient

Learn more:

  • To learn more about prognosis and “cure” click here

Chance of cure by stage

We cannot predict if any one patients is “Cured” but we can generally guess what is the chance that a patient will be alive and cancer free. The best predictor of this is the “Stage” of cancer.

Stage

Chance of being alive in 5 years

I

80-85%

II

75-80%

III

55-60%

IV

5-10%

 Overall Survival

Treatment is improving

We are getting better at detecting colorectal cancer and treating it. Less people overall are dying from this disease.

Rates

What happens if the cancer comes back?

The purpose of follow up is to detect cancer early. Some patients with recurrences may be eligible for further therapy such as more surgery radiation or chemotherapy. Not all recurrences are treatable or curable but it is best to detect cancer early.

Can I get my life back?

It is our goal to return patients to healthy cancer free lives. Therapy can change many things and can have long lasting consequences but we hope that patients and families will learn to adapt overcome and persevere.

Learn more 

  • Living beyond cancer and survivorship click here
  • Getting your life back after cancer click here
  • Globe and mail click here
  • Returning to normal life misconceptions click here 

How can I give back?

There are many ways that patients and families can share and give back to the cancer community. 

This website was created entirely by volunteers and generous support from Colon Cancer Canada. Local volunteers in Calgary helped raised the funds to build this website and fund many other important projects. Every year Albertans gather for Push for your Tush to help be healthy and show support.