Finding metastases at the diagnosis of colorectal cancer can influence the treatment plan, either to increase the chance on curative treatment, or to provide tailor made treatment in incurable situations. At present, various new, multi-modality treatment options are available, also when metastases are present. Surgeon Irene Grossmann did research to optimize abdominal, liver and lung scanning procedures to find metastases and to determine their staging. Three hospitals collaborated in the research project, i.e., the UMC Groningen, Medisch Spectrum Twente in Enschede, and the Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven. There is a chance of 50% of abdominal, liver or lung metastases in colorectal cancer. Routine CT scanning procedures with staging of the metastases proved important, both in elective and emergency situations. Since 2008 this procedure has been part of medical guidelines. Routine staging with a liver scan was found to be very good, in contrast to the abdominal scan. Routine staging of lung metastases did not contribute sufficiently to the treatment plan. Research into blood measurements of a tumour marker to find recurrent cases of colorectal cancer provided promising results. Based on these results, funding was provided for a large, nation-wide follow-up study.
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