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Colon Cancer Surgery

For people with colon cancer, surgery is the most common form of treatment. Types of surgery used to treat this disease include local excision, resection surgery, and radiofrequency ablation. Surgery may cause side effects such as pain, fatigue, diarrhea, and constipation.

An Overview of Surgery for Colon Cancer

Surgery (removing the cancer in an operation) is the most common treatment for colon cancer. A doctor may remove the tumor using one of the following types of colon cancer surgery:
 
  • Local excision
  • Resection
  • Resection and colostomy
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Cryosurgery.
     
Local Excision
If the colon cancer is found at an early stage, the doctor may remove it without cutting through the abdominal wall. Instead, the doctor may put a tube through the rectum into the colon and cut the cancer out. This is called a local excision. If the cancer is found in a polyp (a small bulging piece of tissue), the operation is called a polypectomy.
 
Resection
If the colon cancer is larger, the doctor will perform a partial colectomy (removing the cancer and a small amount of healthy tissue around it). The doctor may then perform an anastomosis (sewing the healthy parts of the colon together). The surgeon will also usually remove lymph nodes near the colon and examine them under a microscope to see whether they contain cancer.
 
Resection and Colostomy
If the doctor is not able to sew the two ends of the colon back together after a resection, a stoma (an opening) is made on the outside of the body for waste to pass through. This type of surgery for colon cancer is called a colostomy. A bag is placed around the stoma to collect the waste. Sometimes, the colostomy is needed only until the lower colon has healed, and then it can be reversed. If the doctor needs to remove the entire lower colon, however, the colostomy may be permanent.
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Colon Cancer Treatments

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