Colorectal Cancer Survivors: How Gastroenterology Nurses Can Help Them Thrive

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Overall cancer death rates have fallen since a peak in 1991 due to declining death rates for lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers. A "cancer survivor" is defined as anyone with a cancer diagnosis. Their numbers are increasing for several reasons including better screening, earlier detection, and improved treatments. The American Cancer Society's projections for colorectal cancer in 2020 are 147,950 new cases and 53,200 deaths. By 2024, there will be an estimated 1.71 million colorectal cancer survivors (17% of all cancer survivors) and many will experience long-term consequences. These problems may be the result of one or more treatment options: surgical resection, systemic chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Problems include issues with bowel, ostomy, bladder, sexual health, peripheral neuropathy, and mental health. Colorectal cancer survivors are especially receptive to making lifestyle changes to improve their long-term health. Gastroenterology nurses can utilize evidence-based recommendations for weight management, diet, physical activity, and lifestyle with the goal of preventing recurrence and a second primary cancer and promoting overall long-term health.


Online ahead of print 18 June 2021.






Wolters Kluwer