Transitioning Your Colorectal Cancer Care from MSK to a Primary Care Doctor

This information explains how your colorectal cancer care will be transitioned from Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) to your local primary care doctor. It also answers some frequently asked questions.

At MSK, we have a plan of care for people who have completed treatment for colorectal cancer. This plan is based on your individual needs. You have passed the time when most problems from colorectal cancer occur. As a result, you can start seeing your local primary care doctor for your future healthcare needs. This transition may seem scary at first, but we are here to help you.

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Initial Follow-up Care

In the early years after your treatment, you were seen in your doctor’s clinic for follow-up visits. You may have also been seen by an APP. An APP is a nurse practitioner (NP) or physician assistant (PA) that has the education and training to provide you with care under the supervision of your doctor.

You may have had visits with more than 1 APP depending on the treatments you received. These visits included physical examinations and tests, such as colonoscopies.

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Long-term Follow-up Care

Your care at MSK

About 2 to 5 years after treatment, your care may have been transferred from your doctor’s clinic to a survivorship clinic. Like your doctor, your APP examined you and ordered tests. They focused on your long-term physical and psychological needs related to colorectal cancer and its treatment. This included managing side effects of treatment and making sure you were getting all the care you needed.

Transition to your local primary care doctor

Now that your colorectal cancer care needs have passed, your care can be transferred from MSK to your local primary care doctor. Your APP will send your primary care doctor a detailed summary of your care at MSK and copies of your test results. This report will also include any recommendations for future colorectal cancer screenings based on the treatment you received.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Will I need any other care for my colorectal cancer?

Yes. You should have routine colonoscopies as recommended by your gastroenterologist.

Can I still have my colonoscopies at MSK?

Yes, you can have any future colonoscopies done at MSK or at your local gastroenterologist. We can give you reports of your previous procedures at MSK.

What other care will I need?

Your doctor or APP will let you know if you will need any other testing. You should follow your primary care doctor’s recommendation regarding how often to visit other medical providers for routine cancer screenings, such as mammograms or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests (test done to monitor growth of prostate tumors).

What other blood tests will I need?

You no longer need blood tests related to your colorectal cancer. Your primary care doctor will order tests related to your general health, such as cholesterol screenings. Any other tests that you will need will be part of the report sent from your care team at MSK to your primary care doctor.

I see other MSK doctors. Can I continue to do so?

Talk with your MSK doctor and local doctors about planning your care. Some people transfer other care they receive at MSK to their primary care doctor or a specialist in their community. Other people keep seeing doctors at MSK. Your MSK and local doctors can help you decide what’s best for you.

If I have another problem related to colorectal cancer, can I come back to MSK?

Yes. If you have any problems related to colorectal cancer, we want you to come back to MSK. We will give you and your primary care doctor contact information to make an appointment. For your reference, as a returning patient you can make an appointment by calling 866-316-8529 and ask to be directed to your doctor’s office.

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