Choosing a treatment plan for a patient with colorectal cancer is complicated, says Cathy Eng, professor and director, Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Typically, many physicians — a pathologist, radiologist, radiation oncologist, surgeon and more — will weigh in on any given intervention outside of chemotherapy.
In the case of chemotherapy, Eng says, the type of chemotherapy matters as well as the administration. Both factors can have an effect on a patient’s work and social life.
Patients with metastatic disease will typically not undergo surgery. Because of this, Eng says, both the patient and physician need to look at colorectal cancer as a chronic illness.
“[Y]ou’re just going to have to adjust yourself to understanding that there are going to be some highs and lows of receiving treatment,” Eng says. “And unfortunately that’s the reality.”