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Standards of Care for Colorectal Cancer

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Updated: May 5, 2007

Have you ever wondered if your doctor sampled enough lymph nodes after your surgery? Or if you waited too long to start chemo? The Commission on Cancer (part of the American College of Surgeons) published a report with some answers because it provides standards of care for colorectal cancer that anyone can reference. Although the title is long, "Measures for Quality of Cancer Care for Breast and Colorectal Cancers," the recommendations are pretty straightforward. The basics:

  • Anyone with stage 3 colon cancer who's younger than 80 should receive (or be offered) chemotherapy within four months of diagnosis;

  • During a colon cancer resection, at least 12 regional lymph nodes should be removed and examined for disease; and

  • Anyone with stage 3 rectal cancer who is being treated with a surgical resection should also receive (or be offered) radiation therapy within six months of diagnosis, provided they're younger than 80.

Source: "National Quality Forum Endorsed Commission on Cancer Measures for Quality of Cancer Care for Breast and Colorectal Cancers." Commission on Cancer. 12 Apr. 2007. Accessed 14 Apr. 2007 [http://www.facs.org/cancer/qualitymeasures.html].

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