Treatment at NCT

NCT offers outstanding expertise for the treatment of colorectal cancer. Gastroenterologists, oncologists, abdominal surgeons, radiotherapists, radiologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and pathologists work closely together and meet twice a week, for example, during interdisciplinary tumor board meetings, in order to discuss treatment approaches for colorectal cancer patients. Furthermore, Heidelberg has an excellent renown on an international level for doing research on the causes and treatment of colorectal cancer.

Examination methods/diagnostics

In the early detection of colorectal cancer, endoscopy ("colonoscopy") plays a central role. In order to receive a diagnosis, endoscopy is performed at the Interdisciplinary Endoscopy Center (IEZ) either within the scope of a preventive medical examination or with the aim of receiving a diagnostic work-up of anomalies or complaints (for example, abdominal pains). A biopsy with a subsequent histological examination of the colorectal tissue can help to confirm the diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Other procedures for advanced diagnostics (for example, sonography, CT, or MRI) are also performed before or after having detected a colorectal tumor. Further diagnostics depends on the degree of cancer spread in every single case.

Therapeutic procedures

If colorectal cancer is diagnosed via endoscopy or another procedure, the ensuing therapy depends on the spread of the disease. If the tumor is restricted to a certain area, surgical removal of the respective segment is usually performed. In some cases, chemotherapy follows surgery. For rectal tumors, radiation therapy may also prove to be helpful before surgery.

In the case of metastatic cancer, an interdisciplinary expert team also considers whether surgical removal of the tumor and its metastases is possible and reasonable. Generally, there are several, also combined, treatment approaches for metastatic cancer. These include surgical approaches, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, treatment with targeted substances (for example, so-called antibodies), and local procedures performed in the liver (for instance, chemoembolization or radiofrequency ablation). Furthermore, some innovative treatment methods are tested within clinical trials at NCT.

Aftercare

The NCT also offers aftercare examinations after surgical removal of colorectal cancer and/or its metastases. This includes, for instance, laboratory tests and ultrasound, as well as endoscopy and CT or MRI. The time intervals between aftercare examinations depend on the localization and spread of the cancer.