How can I help my family cope with my diagnosis of colon or rectal cancer?

It is important to determine from each family member how much they would like to know about your diagnosis and how much you, as the patient, are willing to tell them. Sometimes a lack of knowledge can lead to more anger and confusion. Allow your family members to ask questions so they can understand your diagnosis better. There are also many national and local support groups to help patients and families cope with the diagnosis. Your physician or hospital should be able to help you contact these groups.
It is common that a diagnosis of colon or rectal cancer may both frighten and upset your family. However, there are now several therapeutic options available to patients, and these should be discussed at length with your surgeon and with your family prior to making final decisions. Letting your family know will give them time to adjust and help you make decisions at a time when your own decision-making processes may be more difficult.

Additionally, if it appears that you have a family history of colon, ovarian, endometrial, gastric, or pancreatic cancer, it is important for your family members to be screened as well. Colon cancer may be preventable in its early stages.

Continue Learning about Gastrointestinal Cancer

Gastrointestinal Cancer

Caused by tumors that grow slowly in our digestive system, gastrointestinal cancers can affect the appendix, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum.With no known cause, the tumors that cause these cancers usually do not show s...

ymptoms until after they have spread. See your doctor if you have shortness of breath, abdominal discomfort or bloating, rectal bleeding or bowel obstruction. You are at greater risk for developing gastrointestinal cancers if you have a family history of the cancers, are older than 50 or have other gastric problems, such as gastritis. Tumors called carcinoids and non-carcinoids cause cancer in the gastrointestinal tract, which houses the stomach and the intestines. Most carcinoid tumors are found in the tip of the appendix, which is attached to the large intestines. Tumors are often found when a person is treated for appendicitis or a doctor notices it accidentally in a CT scan. Aggressive treatments, such as surgery, are needed for large tumors.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.