This article appears in the June 2021 issue of the
PE GI Journal
The Colorectal Cancer Provider Outreach Program offers patient support to those who need it
A cancer diagnosis can be a confusing and overwhelming experience for a patient. Gastroenterologist Brian Dooreck, MD, has seen this dynamic firsthand. “When receiving their diagnosis, patients don’t hear anything after ‘cancer.’ It’s a scary, dark place to be,” says Dr. Dooreck. Even after more than 15 years in the field, these difficulties have not been lost on him. This is one of the hardest diagnoses a person can hear. It takes time to process and to understand what it all means and what the next steps are. Dr. Dooreck’s expertise as a gastroenterologist and his drive to help patients post-diagnosis led him to create the Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Provider Outreach Program, a groundbreaking tool offering patient support post-diagnosis.
“There is a big void when patients are diagnosed with colorectal cancer,” says Dr. Dooreck. “The truth of the matter is they are often left with little to no information on what to research or do next to help them better understand their diagnosis. The Colorectal Cancer Provider Outreach Program fills that void.”
More specifically, the CRC Provider Outreach Program is a free tool GI physicians can use to provide their patients with easy-to-access, supportive resources at the time of their diagnosis. Patients can simply text “COLON” to 484848 to receive information and links about available resources from several National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) member organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, Fight Colorectal Cancer, the Colon Cancer Coalition, and the Colon Cancer Foundation.
Dr. Dooreck’s program not only tells patients the next steps needed (e.g., CT scans, appointments, etc.), but it also provides them with easily accessible resources for emotional support.
Colon cancer, Dr. Dooreck explains, is different from other diagnoses. Patients are just coming out of sedation from their colonoscopy when they receive the news. They are still groggy, they have just had a procedure, they hear the word “cancer.” It makes the information that much harder to absorb and process.
“Telling a patient already in a moment of crisis that their world is now flipped upside down makes having this program available for them to easily access an actionable step of accountability,” says Dr. Dooreck. “We can tell the patient to simply text this number, and it allows the patient to take control of something when their world seems out of control.”
With just one text, the patient receives clear direction. It also helps patients feel less alone and more reassured that they have support in this journey. That one text can unlock a cache of trusted resources and guides.
Additionally, this program could not come at a more opportune time. Now, more than ever, young adults are being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 150,000 new cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed this year. Colorectal cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States. It is the second-most common cause of cancer when men and women’s statistics are combined.
The CRC Provider Outreach Program has set out to fill the void in the clinical flow between patients and GI physicians. Its ultimate purpose is to help people in their time of need. It is available to any and all physicians dealing with colorectal cancer diagnoses and to support the hundreds of thousands affected each year.
“I have always been motivated by patient-driven initiatives, which led to the Colorectal Cancer Provider Outreach Program,” says Dr. Dooreck. “I enjoy providing service and support paired with leveraging technology.”
Give your patients access to the Colorectal Cancer Provider Outreach Program. Patients can text “COLON” to 484848 to receive information about a CRC diagnosis.