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3 things you need to know about colon cancer

March 8, 2018
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers in the U.S. The American Cancer Society says lifetime risk is about 1 in 22 for men and 1 in 24 for women. What’s more, recent research found a sharp increase in rates among young and middle-aged people.

For this video, Joseph DiRocco, M.D., a colorectal surgeon and medical director of GI Oncology, and Niraj Jani, M.D., chief of the Gastroenterology Division at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, team up to share key facts that can help you protect yourself.

In the event that you need a specialist, the Gastrointestinal (GI) Oncology Multidisciplinary Program of the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute uses a team-based approach to delivering high-quality, comprehensive cancer care. Our GI Oncology team looks to current research to direct our program while providing the gold standard in care.

The GI Oncology Multidisciplinary Tumor Board meets regularly to discuss patients. The team includes surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology, radiology, pathology, gastroenterology, interventional radiology, genetics, research and oncology nursing. Individual patients are discussed with feedback shared by each discipline. Patients find this process reassuring and it serves as a great communication tool.

In addition, our colorectal surgeons use “Early Recovery After Surgery” (ERAS) evidence-based pathways for our colorectal patients. These pathways employ best practices for patients before, during and after surgery. The surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists all partner together to optimize patient outcomes. These protocols have patients up and moving more quickly after surgery. Research shows that patients experience less pain and shorter hospital stays when these pathways are utilized across the different disciplines.

The GI Oncology program is also equipped with a GI Oncology Nurse Navigator, Amy Nahley, RN, MS, OCN. The Nurse Navigator facilitates communication between the different specialty areas involved in the care of GI Oncology patients. Newly diagnosed GI cancer patients get necessary staging scans and definitive treatment in a timely manner. As an Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN), Nahley provides symptom management, care coordination and support to patients whether their treatment involves chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or a combination of modalities.

GBMC also launched an Upper GI and Hepatobiliary Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic. The clinic serves as a “one stop shop” for patients. Dr. Rina Patel, a medical oncologist with a focus on gastrointestinal cancers, and Dr. Arun Mavanur, a surgical oncologist and director of Surgical Oncology at GBMC, lead this clinic. When a patient arrives at the clinic, he/she can see both specialists in one afternoon and connect to other resources such as Oncology Support Services, research, nutrition and nursing, when appropriate. The clinic provides multidisciplinary and personalized care.

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