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Surgery is the most common treatment for colon and rectal cancers. Depending on the stage and location of the tumor, different surgical methods are performed alone or in conjunction with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Treatments may include:
Polypectomy: Suspicious or cancerous polyps on the colon wall can easily be removed. A colonoscope is a long tube with a camera in the end. The colonoscope is inserted in the rectum and guided to the area requiring treatment, and a tiny, scissor-like instrument removes the polyp.
Colectomy: Surgeons remove the cancerous portion of the colon, along with a margin of healthy tissue on either side, and then reattach the colon. This procedure is also called a hemicolectomy or segmental resection. Our program is a leader in laparoscopic surgeries and has an active program to train other surgeons in the region for laparoscopic techniques.
Resection and Colostomy: If the colon cannot be rejoined after removing the cancer, surgeons will perform a colostomy. A stoma (hole) is cut in the abdominal wall and attached to a segment of colon. Bodily waste goes through the stoma into a plastic bag outside the body. Colostomies may be temporary, allowing the bowel to heal before resection. However, about 15 percent of colostomies are permanent.
We have Certified Wound and Ostomy Nurses spread throughout the metropolitan area as resources for your colostomy care. You will not feel alone while adjusting to a lifestyle with a colostomy.
Radiation Therapy: We recommend radiation therapy to shrink and destroy rectal cancer cells prior to surgery or if surgery is not an option. It can also be used to relieve cancer symptoms.
Chemotherapy: We recommend chemotherapy to shrink rectal tumors before surgery, or to lengthen survival time after surgery.
Targeted Therapy: Researchers are developing new drugs that seek and destroy specific types of cancer cells without affecting healthy cells. Drugs such as Avastin, Erbitux and Vectibix are showing promise in treating colon cancer.
If colon or rectal cancer has spread to the liver, our program offers several innovative treatment options. These include radioactive microspheres, radio-frequency and microwave ablation, and liver resection.