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Your care team

  • Our colon cancer experts work as a team to support your physical and emotional needs. As a colon cancer patient, your care team may include doctors and other health care professionals.


    Your primary care provider guides your overall medical care. This is the first medical professional you should go to about any health concern.

    Medical oncologists coordinate colon cancer care through the course of the disease. They also prescribe chemotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs, as well as pain medicine.

    Diagnostic radiologists help in further defining the primary tumor with MRI, CT colography and sometimes the use of a barium enema, an x-ray of the large intestine, to find colon cancer. Diagnostic radiologists also help determine the extent of the disease using CT scans.

    Pathologists work in the medical laboratory, where they examine cells, body fluids and tissue samples for cancer.

    Gastroenterologists diagnose and treat problems with the digestive system, which includes the colon. They use colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy to find tumors and polyps in the colon and rectum.

    Surgeons treat colon and rectal cancer by removing the portion of the colon or rectum that is involved with the tumor. Surgeons also resect other areas of the body such as the liver and lung that may be involved with cancer.

    Radiation oncologists stop the growth of cancer cells with radiation therapy.

    Other colon cancer care team members

    Cancer care coordinators meet with patients and their families to provide support and help them navigate the medical system. The same cancer care coordinator can support a patient from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up.

    Genetic counselors address concerns about inheriting cancer.

    Healing coaches offer support, information and referrals for complementary therapies. While bridging the worlds of mainstream and alternative medicine, they can help address concerns and feelings raised by cancer.

  • Cancer care is much more than treating a disease.

    This video covers care coordination, one of the essential components of cancer care at the Virginia Piper Cancer Institute.

    expand to learn more Read cancer care coordinator video transcript