Rectal Cancer Surgery
Resection and Colostomy Surgery
If the doctor is not able to sew the rectum back together, a stoma (an opening) is made on the outside of the body for waste to pass through. This procedure is called a colostomy. A bag is placed around the stoma to collect the waste. Sometimes, the colostomy is needed only until the rectum has healed, and then it can be reversed. If the doctor needs to remove the entire rectum, however, the colostomy may be permanent.
Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the operation, some people may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after rectal cancer surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left. Treatment given after surgery to increase the chances of a cure is called adjuvant therapy.