Surgery in combination with chemotherapy or radiation is the most effective treatment for colorectal cancer to date. Fortunately, improvements in surgical techniques allow surgeons to remove cancerous tissue while preserving normal bowel function, depending on the stage and location of the cancer. Surgical options include:
- Sphincter-sparing surgery: Advances in rectal surgery have led doctors to develop sphincter-sparing surgery, which allows us to preserve functions of the anus and avoid the inconvenience of a colostomy. Sphincter-sparing treatment for stage 1 rectal cancer involves limited surgery, often followed by a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
- Adjuvant Therapy: When rectal cancer cannot be completely removed with surgery, a patient’s chance of cure is greatly diminished. Pre-surgery radiation and/or chemotherapy are referred to as neo-adjuvant therapy. This therapy can shrink some rectal cancers and therefore allow complete surgical removal. If the excised cancer is found to have spread to the lymph nodes, then chemoradiotherapy can be used to help reduce the risk of recurrence.
- Colostomy: Sometimes removing the anus during colorectal surgery is necessary to ensure complete removal of the cancer. In these cases, the surgeons will create a colostomy for the patient. The colostomy is covered by a bag, which collects stool as it empties from the bowel.
- Total Mesorectal Excision: Mountainside Hospital is proud to offer this leading-edge surgical procedure that is the standard of care in Europe. Designed to remove the rectum and mesorectum – the fatty tissue surrounding the rectum that may contain microscopic cancer cells – this procedure greatly reduces your chances of recurring tumors as compared to conventional surgery.