Understanding Colorectal Cancer: Surgical Options

The most common treatment of colorectal cancer is to remove the tumor and surrounding lymph nodes. Surgical procedures for rectal cancer are more complex than for colon cancer. In rectal surgery, more tissues and muscles related to urinary and sexual functions are involved.

Local Excision

A local excision is done when cancer is found at an early stage. The procedure is performed through the anal canal to locally remove the tumor without removing part of the rectum.

Pelvic Exenteration

If the cancer has spread to other organs near the rectum, the lower colon, rectum, bladder and reproductive organs in the pelvis are removed. A colostomy and urostomy are created.

Diverting Ostomy

Sometimes rectal cancer causes a blockage and patients are unable to pas stool. A colostomy is created to allow stool to pass but the tumor is not removed. This may be done to allow the bowel to rest while the patient gets chemotherapy and will be reversed later on. It may also be a permanent ostomy if surgery can’t be done or if the rectum can’t be reattached to the rest of the intestines. 

Return to list of treatment options.

Back to “Understanding Colorectal Cancer: An Introduction”