Care Centers & Services

Colorectal Care

colorectal_care_Northern-Light-Eastern-Maine-Medical-Center-(1).jpgNo one wants to learn there may be something wrong, and if you have a colorectal concern, we are here for you. Our team of experts specializes in colorectal and cancer care. With comprehensive, coordinated care close by, we make it easy for you to get back to doing the things you love.
 
What are common colorectal cancer symptoms?
Some patients do not have any symptoms. Others may have symptoms such as:
  • Blood in or on the stool
  • Diarrhea or constipation or sensation of incomplete emptying at the time of a bowel movement
  • Stools that are narrower than usual
  • Abdominal discomfort or pain
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent gas pains or bloating
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason
  • Anemia that can result in constant tiredness, fatigue, decreased exercise tolerance
If you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.
 
How often is colorectal cancer diagnosed?
Each year, approximately 140,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed, and 56,000 people will die from the disease in the US. It is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States for both men and women combined after lung cancer. Men and women are affected equally.
 
Can colorectal cancer be prevented?
There is strong evidence that lifestyle modifications may significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer, such as regular exercise, low-fat diet, high in vegetables and fruit.,
 
Colorectal cancer can be prevented by removing polyps when a colonoscopy is done. Polyps are growths that occur frequently in the colon. Some polyps, but not all, can become cancerous over time, if they are not removed.
 
It is recommended that men and women undergo screening colonoscopies after the age of 50, unless there is a strong personal or family history of colon cancer, in which case it is usually recommended at an earlier age.
 
How do I get checked for colorectal cancer?
The best screening tool for colorectal cancer is a colonoscopy. It allows us to see the entire colon and detect any polyps. Colorectal cancer is sometimes detected using other tests such as fecal screening test, barium enema, and CT colonography. We have a team of dedicated physicians, nurses, and technicians specialized in gastroenterology who offer a broad range on endoscopic procedures, including colonoscopies using state of the art technology.

For a referral for a colonscopy, call Northern Light Gastroenterology at 207-973-4266.
 
What does treatment for colorectal cancer look like at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center?
Once patients are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, our care team works to determine the best treatment for their tumor. This treatment is tailored to each individual patient, and may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
 
All patients are evaluated by an interdisciplinary team including dedicated colorectal surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, genetic counselors and physicians, the Palliative Care team, nurses, social workers, case managers, and supporting technical staff, that provide state of the art and compassionate care to patients.
 
Tumors are also evaluated for specific genetic markers that help direct the best treatment options for each individual. In addition to, or in place of standard chemotherapy, immune therapy may be an option for some colorectal cancer patients.

Collaborating for you
We are a member of the Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative, which gives access to many clinical trials here at the Northern Light Cancer Care. Some patients may be eligible for clinical trials that may be offered here or in Boston through our Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Northern Light Cancer Care is accredited by the American College of Surgeon-Cancer Commission on Cancer, demonstrating our commitment to excellence in cancer care.
 
Tumor Board
On a regular basis, often once per week, a combination of experts in surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, diagnostic radiology, pathology, genetics, nutrition, and nursing, get together to discuss many newly-diagnosed patients with cancer in order to combine our expertise to generate a comprehensive course of treatment.
 
Clinical Trials
We have adult clincial trials availalable for colorectal cancer. Ask your specialist if a clinical trial may be right for you. Learn more about cancer research options.