Colon Resection for Cancer
Let Our Manhattan Colorectal Surgeons Provide Treatment
Most cases of color cancer are asymptomatic and diagnosed by screening
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.