Management of Early Colorectal Cancer

Published online: 
02 June 2011


Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers registered, and the second most common cause of death from cancer in New Zealand.

This evidence-based guideline, Management of Early Colorectal Cancer, was funded by the Ministry of Health and developed by the New Zealand Guidelines Group. It provides guidance for secondary and tertiary care practitioners on delivering best-practice care.

The guideline was commissioned by the Ministry as part of its commitment to the implementation of the Cancer Control Strategy. It follows the publication of evidence-based guidelines for the management of melanoma, early breast cancer and suspected cancer in primary care.

This guideline fits within a broader suite of guidelines and programmes developed to support health professionals to care for people with colorectal cancer in New Zealand.

What the guideline covers

Management of Early Colorectal Cancer specifically addresses the management of people with invasive adenocarcinoma of the colon or rectum. It has been prepared to meet the evidence needs of secondary and tertiary providers of colorectal care.

The guideline assumes the patient has already been referred because of suspicious bowel symptoms or has undergone initial testing in primary care. It covers the clinical pathway from preoperative assessment to appropriate intervention and includes recommendations for follow-up.

Content includes:

  • guidance on elective surgery for colon and rectal cancer
  • emergency surgery for bowel obstruction
  • adjuvant therapy
  • general guidance to facilitate coordinated and patient-centred care.

What the guideline doesn't cover

It should be noted that the management of people with more advanced colorectal cancer (including metastatic disease) at diagnosis or later, and people with high-risk familial colorectal cancer syndromes, are beyond the scope of this guideline, so these cancers have been excluded.

Squamous cell carcinomas have also been excluded.

Colorectal cancer screening in asymptomatic people or the prevention of colorectal cancer in the general population is also beyond the scope of this guideline.

Presenter slide sets

Two slide sets have been prepared to assist educators in training sessions on colorectal cancer and training sessions on surgery. If you use a slide to make your own presentation, please do not change the slide's contents.

Colorectal cancer presenter slide set: Oncology (zip, 5.45 MB)

Colorectal cancer presenter slide set: Surgery (zip, 5.49 MB)

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    02 June 2011
  • Hardcopy date of publication:
    02 June 2011
  • ISBN:
    978-1-877509-41-4 (print), 978-1-877509-40-7 (online)
  • HP number:
  • Citation:
    New Zealand Guidelines Group. 2011. Management of Early Colorectal Cancer - Evidence-based Best Practice Guidelines. Wellington: New Zealand Guidelines Group.
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
  • Copyright status:

    Owned by the Ministry of Health and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.

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