Surgery is the most common treatment for colorectal cancer. Surgical techniques have improved greatly in the past few years. There are two main types of surgery:
Many colon cancers may be removed with the aid of a thin, lighted tube -- a laparoscope. Three or four tiny cuts are made into your abdomen. The surgeon sees inside your abdomen with the laparoscope. The tumor and part of the healthy colon are removed. Nearby lymph nodes also may be removed. The surgeon checks the rest of your intestine and your liver to see if the cancer has spread. There are significant advantages to have this form of minimally invasive surgery, including shorter hospital stays, less risk of infection, significantly less scarring, less readmission to hospitals and quicker recovery. Recent medical literature shows this form of surgery is at least equally as effective as traditional open surgery. The problem is locating a surgeon who does this form of surgery. Most surgeons are not trained for minimally invasive surgery, but if patients insist on this form of surgery, physicians will have to learn these procedures…so find out if you are a candidate for this type of surgery and insist on having it! Check out these videos done by the US based Colon Cancer Alliance for a physicians and patient’s perspective on these surgeries.
With this common procedure, the surgeon makes a large cut into your abdomen to remove the tumor and part of the healthy colon or rectum. Some nearby lymph nodes are also removed. The surgeon checks the rest of your intestine and your liver to see if the cancer has spread.
Regardless of whether you have an open surgery or a minimally invasive procedure, you’ll need time to heal. If you had a colon resection, you will not be able to eat for the first couple of days and will be given intravenous fluids and pain medication. You’ll probably feel tired and weak, and possibly have slight constipation for some time after colon surgery.
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