Colorectal cancer is also called bowel cancer. It is the general name for cancer of the colon, rectum or anus.
The NHS website has more information about bowel cancer.
Bowel Cancer UK also provides expert information and support for everyone affected by bowel cancer.
What to expect at your appointment
Your first appointment at King's may take between 45 minutes and two hours. You may have had some tests beforehand and you may also have some at this consultation.
You will see one of our consultants or another member of the colorectal team. If, at this first visit, we think it's likely you have cancer, you will also see the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) who will be your key worker. You will be given written information about the type of cancer you have, your treatment options, and other sources of support, such as King's Macmillian Information and Support Centre.
Your key worker will also arrange for you to have a colonoscopy, CT scan and blood tests within two weeks of this appointment.
The weekly colorectal multidisciplinary team will then review your results and recommend a treatment plan, and we will invite you to a second clinic appointment to discuss your test results and treatment options.
Tests and investigations
At your first appointment we will arrange for you to have one or more of the following tests within two weeks. They help us to find out whether you have cancer and to assess your treatment options. They include:
- blood tests
- CT scan of your chest, abdomen (tummy) and/or pelvis.
- endoscopy such as colonoscopy and endoscopic ultrasound
If we suspect you have rectal cancer, you will also have:
- MRI scan of your pelvis
Your care and treatment depends on the type cancer you have, its size and where it is, how far it has advanced (the stage) and your overall health. The final decision about what treatment you have is yours.
After our team of specialists reviews the results of your tests and investigations, we will arrange an appointment so you can discuss your treatment options with your consultant and clinical nurse specialist.
Your treatment may include one or more or a combination of treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery.
- Surgical resection: a common treatment for colorectal cancer where the tumour is removed using keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery.
- Endoscopic resection: you may have the tumour removed using endoscopy with procedures such as endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) or transanal endoscopic resection (TER).
- Pre-surgery treatment: if you have rectal cancer you may have radiotherapy and chemotherapy before having a surgical resection.
- Post-operative therapy: after surgery you go to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals for radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Who to contact
At your first appointment, we will tell you who your key worker is and how and when you can contact them. Your key worker is usually a clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
Clinical nurse specialists
Tel: +44 (0)20 3299 4854
Available: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) nurse
Tel: +44 (0)20 3299 7659
Available: Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm
If you cannot contact your key worker or any of the above, please see your GP or go to your nearest Accident & Emergency Department.
If you have practical queries or want further information about support groups, contact the Macmillan Centre at King’s.
Your care will be provided by a group of experts called a multidisciplinary team (MDT). This is a team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals specialising in treating your type of cancer. You can discuss your care with them and ask them any questions you have about your treatment. Our team includes:
- Mr Amyn Haji
- Mr Asif Haq
- Mr Joseph W Nunoo-Mensah
- Mr Savvas Papagrigoriadis
How we support you
We want to make sure that you get all the assistance you need to live well with – and after – cancer. There’s a wide range of support available to help you cope with cancer, including physical, emotional and practical advice for you, your family, friends and carers.