• Joel Bauer MD
  • Stephen Gorfine MD
  • David Chessin MD
  • Daniel Popowich MD

Colon Resection for Cancer

Colon Resection for Cancer

Let Our Manhattan Colorectal Surgeons Provide Treatment

Most cases of color cancer are asymptomatic and diagnosed by screening colonoscopy.

Symptoms are not specific to this disease and may include:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Abdominal pain
  • Colon obstruction
  • Weight loss

The cause is unknown, but most cases arise from polyps of the lining of the colon. Once diagnosed, treatment includes surgical resection of the involved colon. Following surgery, chemotherapy may be recommended.

Diagnosis

Colon cancer is diagnosed using a combination of patient history, physical examination, endoscopy, radiology, and pathology. The diagnosis is often made using colonoscopy with biopsies.

Colonoscopy is also important in patients with a history of colon cancer for surveillance of the colon for development of tumor recurrence. Radiology tests that may be ordered include plain X-ray and CT scan of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. These studies are often utilized in the evaluation for evidence of metastatic disease.

Treatment

The treatment of colon cancer varies based upon whether there is spread beyond the primary site in the colon. If there is no spread, the treatment is often removal of the involved colon. Following removal of the colon, the pathologist will evaluate the tumor under the microscope and give it a stage based upon the depth of penetration of tumor in the wall of the colon and the presence of tumor in the lymph nodes surrounding the tumor. Based upon the stage of the tumor, postoperative chemotherapy may be recommended.

In selected patients with limited spread in the liver or lungs, removal of the involved colon along with the tumor in the liver or lungs may be feasible. The recommendation for this treatment strategy is individualized based upon the extent of disease and overall clinical presentation of the patient. If this approach is chosen, it is common for postoperative chemotherapy to be administered.

If there is tumor spread beyond the primary tumor and it is not amenable to removal, surgery may not be recommended. In this situation, chemotherapy is often administered.

Colon resection for cancer is often performed to cure the disease or treat symptoms. It is performed in the hospital and you will be admitted following the procedure.

Preparation

The night prior to the procedure, you will be instructed to take nothing to eat or drink after midnight. In addition, you will be prescribed a bowel preparation. The preparation should be taken as instructed.

For a colon resection, you will receive general anesthesia, in which you are completely asleep and monitored at all times by an anesthesiologist.

Operation

An incision will be made in your abdomen and the colon containing the cancer will be identified. The segment of colon with the cancer will be removed, and the two ends reconnected. Rarely, a diverting stoma will be performed. Often a stoma is performed to maximize the safety of the operation for you. You will have a dressing placed over the operative site.

Postoperative Care

Following a colon resection, you will be admitted to the hospital, receive pain medication, and intravenous fluid. Once bowel function returns and you can tolerate a diet with no signs of fever or other complications, you will be discharged from the hospital. You will be given a prescription for pain medication. In the 1-2 weeks following surgery, you will see your surgeon for a follow-up appointment.

In the intervening time period, you contact your Manhattan colorectal surgeon with questions or concerns.

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