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Communicating the Diagnosis

 These excepts are taken from the draft standards for the Diagnosis and Referral of Patients who are Clinically Suspicious for Colorectal Cancer. See the full version of this document for more information.

Communicating the Diagnosis

to the Patient

  • It is the responsibility of the physician making the diagnosis to communicate the diagnosis to the patient. If the diagnosis is uncertain (e.g. requiring pathological confirmation), the patient will be informed of the probable diagnosis
  • Patients will be informed of their diagnosis at the earliest appropriate time, ideally in a supportive environment.
  • Patients will be given written information including the probable diagnosis, expected immediate next steps and timelines and the contact information for the Cancer Patient Navigator. 

To the Primary Care Provider

  • The diagnosing physician will also inform the patient’s primary care provider of the diagnosis.

(Cancer Care Nova Scotia Working Group Consensus)

Organizing Care

When a diagnosis of colon or rectal cancer has been made or is suspected (waiting for pathological confirmation of the biopsy), the diagnosing physician will immediately:

  • Refer the patient to the Cancer Patient Navigator
  • Refer to surgeon (if necessary)
  • Initiate appropriate staging investigations*

*For Rectal Cancer – refer to the Rectal Cancer Standards