The Colorectal Centre of Pirmasens offers patients from the Western Palatinate region the full range of early detection and diagnosis, extending from surgery to post-treatment and aftercare of colorectal cancer.
This support of our patients is interdisciplinary and comprehensive in the full sense of the term. It is made possible by a network of highly specialised physicians, nurses and medical-technical assistants working in various clinics, practices and institutions.
Our common goal is to provide you with the best possible, state-of-the-art, early detection and treatment of the ‘widespread disease of colorectal cancer’ in your region.
A great benefit that care in a qualified colorectal centre offers our patients is that each individual case is reviewed and discussed by experts in different medical and nursing disciplines. Another advantage lies in the great experience that accompanies our patients from day one.
Only once all the necessary examinations have been completed – once there is a very clear picture of the type and extent of the tumour, once it is quite certain where the tumour is located – do the members of an interdisciplinary tumour conference jointly develop a coordinated therapy concept tailored entirely to your individual case.
Ideally, the first signs of a future colorectal cancer, the growths known as ‘polyps’, are already removed by a suitably qualified specialist in the course of a screening examination. But what if the originally benign polyps have already turned into a ‘malignant’ tumour, or if metastases have set out on a path through the body?
At the Colorectal Centre of Pirmasens, the so-called ‘tumour conference’ – a grouping of medical experts and specialists from a wide range of medical disciplines – convenes to decide on the possibility of operating the respective patient. At our colorectal centre, naturally, we perform surgeries based on the principle of ‘as much as necessary, as little as possible’, and we inform you thoroughly and comprehensively at all times of all the recommended measures required to treat your specific case.
If the results of all preliminary examinations indicate that an originally benign intestinal polyp has become transformed into a malignant tumour, and if all of the members of our tumour conference have reached a unanimous decision as to how this tumour can be removed – as gently as possible – we recommend that you undergo tumour surgery.
At this time, we can assure you with a high degree of certainty that your tumour has not yet formed any metastases, and that there is a good chance that you will overcome your illness without any particular complications.
Incidentally, in most cases the fear that an artificial anus must be placed is unfounded. If the disease in your body has in fact progressed so far that it would be temporarily unavoidable to place an artificial anus that will help protect the abdomen from infections, we would take these (and all similar) steps in conjunction with the diagnosis and treatment of your individual disease, and we would discuss this with you beforehand in any event.
Early detection is the great opportunity that presents itself to every patient who is at risk of developing colorectal cancer. Because every colorectal cancer always follows the same path: from the (in itself) harmless polyp, a ‘dangerous’ tumour develops that at some point begins to form so-called ‘metastases’.
‘Metastases’ are migrations of cancer cells emitted by the tumour. This capability – which is extremely useful from the point of view of the tumour – poses a challenge for the physician, because the metastases can spread throughout the patient’s body, transported by the lymphatic fluid and blood. In the case of colorectal cancer, the lymph nodes, liver and lungs are among the preferred ‘settlements’ for metastases. We think it is important not to give patients of the Colorectal Centre of Pirmasens a reason to despair, even if the results of preliminary examinations indicate that metastases have formed in your body.
The steps that the specialists at our colorectal centre will take in your particular case – whether the metastases are to be neutralised through local surgery, a ‘real’ operation or by means of chemotherapy and radiation therapy – are decided based on the recommendation of our interdisciplinary tumour conference. You can be absolutely certain that we will discuss in detail all of the measures relating to the diagnosis and treatment of your individual disease with you in advance.
Concerns about the consequences of so-called ‘chemotherapy’ keep many patients from availing themselves of screening examinations offered free of charge. These fears are unfounded!
The qualified specialists at the Colorectal Centre of Pirmasens know exactly three cases that justify treating a patient with chemotherapy: ‘Adjuvant chemotherapy’ if all examinations have shown that the first lymph nodes have been affected by cancer. ‘Neoadjuvant therapy’ is used if the cancer has affected large parts of the rectum. In these cases, the aim is to reduce the sizes of these growths to such an extent as to permit surgery. Finally, ‘palliative chemotherapy’ helps patients in whom the existence of metastases in the lungs, liver and other organs has been detected.
It is true that chemotherapy involves significant stress for the patient. So it is all the more important that you also inform the people around you about the usefulness and background of the free colorectal cancer screening examinations available to people from the age of 50.
Just as important as early information on background and treatment options for colorectal cancer is the aftercare that is a natural part of the care provided to all patients of our colorectal centre. We are convinced that it is only through personal, long-term care of every single person who has undergone treatment for colorectal cancer that we can close the gap to provide the kind of seamless care we offer to colorectal cancer patients in our region.
During the aftercare phase, we not only help you orient yourself again in your everyday life but also assist you with any psychological or social problems you may have. It is also the post-treatment phase that gives you the certainty that you have in fact defeated the cancer over the long term. Our approach provides for corresponding exams over the first five years. These recommendations are provided by the German Cancer Society. To be entirely safe, we also advise our patients to continue to avail themselves of follow-up examinations even after this post-treatment period has ended.
In addition to the individual care of our patients by partners of the Colorectal Centre of Pirmasens, we are pleased if you inform yourself about the offers of further self-help groups provided by social workers, pastoral caregivers and psychologists in the region. We are happy to help you find suitable contacts near your place of residence.
The opportunity to interact with people who will listen and can assist you with important information and experiences of their own, people who will help you process the consequences of colorectal cancer and to gain new joie de vivre, is an important component of any successful cancer treatment!
One of the essential prerequisites for the success of the work we do in concert with others is the provision of information events on topics around colorectal cancer diagnosis and treatment.
With this in mind, the partners of the Colorectal Centre of Pirmasens offer evening information events that are understandable to the general public for interested visitors, patients and their family members. There are also special continuing training events designed for doctors and specialists who come (not only) from the Western Palatinate region. We will be happy to answer any questions you might have in person.
Scientists and medical specialists worldwide are working on investigations of colorectal cancer. Their common goal is to advance progress in diagnosis and therapy for the benefit of our patients. The results of this research hail from a wide range of disciplines. The partners of the Colorectal Centre of Pirmasens also contribute to this international knowledge-sharing ‘by practitioners for practitioners’.
At this point, we offer you a glimpse into the scientific activities of our colorectal centre: