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Surgical Treatment of Cancer of the Colon, Rectum, and Anus

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Cancer of the colon, rectum, and anus is highly treatable with early intervention including surgical removal of the cancerous tissue. Specialized treatment of colorectal cancer, including surgery has also resulted in improved survival for all stages of cancer.

Surgery to treat cancer of the colon, rectum, and anus includes:

  • Polypectomy to remove small growths on the inner lining of the colon. It is performed during a colonoscopy.
  • Local excision to remove the cancer and some tissue of the wall of the rectum. Itdoes not require major abdominal surgery.
  • Resection involves the removal of part, or all, of the colon along with the cancer and its attaching tissues.
  • Partial colectomy to remove only part of the colon, joining the remaining parts together in a procedure called anastomosis.
  • Total abdominal colectomy to remove the entire colon but preserve the rectum and anus.
  • Proctosigmoidectomy to remove the rectum and sigmoid colon is removed.

Total proctocolectomy removes the rectum and colon and sometimes the anus. This is the most extensive bowel operation. If the surgeon is able to leave the anus and it works properly, an ileal pouch is created so that you can go to the bathroom as you did before you had cancer. However, if the anus must be removed, is weak, or has been damaged, a permanent ileostomy is needed.

Conditions Treated

Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of colon cancer but there are many other forms as well including:

  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Melanoma
  • Neuroendocrine tumors.