MONITORING & ONGOING TREATMENT
Once treatment is complete, you will be intensively monitored by your doctors for a period of five years and have regular colonoscopies indefinitely.
This follow-up usually entails six-monthly clinical consultations and blood tests (CEA). CT scans are done annually initially for one to two years to check for recurrence of the tumour at the original site and secondaries elsewhere in the body (metastases). A colonoscopy is usually done one year after the operation and then every three to five years indefinitely. Regular colonoscopies are a proven way to prevent the development of new bowel cancers. (Polyps can be removed before they develop into bowel cancers).
Our team at Macquarie University Hospital can provide all follow-up care including scans and clinical review of ongoing treatment in a single location at the hospital.
A stoma (an opening of the bowel onto the abdomen) is sometimes made during the surgery. Your bowel motions will come through the stoma into a bag.
Stomas are usually temporary, while the bowel heals, but some people will need them permanently. Understandably, many people find this difficult to deal with. Before your surgery, you will be given a lot of education and support about having a stoma.
Macquarie University Hospital has a dedicated stomatherapist (stoma nurse). The stomatherapist will see you before your operation and during your post-operative stay if you have a stoma. Once discharged, the hospital will arrange follow-up with the stomatherapist and home/community care if necessary.
At Macquarie University Hospital, palliative care is available for patients nearing the end of life.