Bowel Surgery

bowel surgeryColon cancer is a disease in where cancer cells form in the tissues of your colon. The aim of bowel surgery is to remove your colorectal cancer. A bowel surgery, or partial colectomy, involves removing tumors in your colon or rectum along with some of your normal tissue around it. This normal tissue is known as the cancer margin and is necessary to remove because it may also be cancerous. Your lymph nodes may also be removed and tested for cancer. The name for this type of operation is resection, where tissues or part of an organ is removed. The surgeon’s job is to remove just the right amount so that there is still good blood supply for the bowels, and effectively sew the healthy parts of the colon or rectum back together.

Risks & Factors for Colon Cancer

Symptoms of Colon Cancer

Diagnosing Colon Cancer

Barium enema: a series of x-rays taken of your lower gastrointestinal tract

Biopsy: removing your cells or tissues that may be affected by cancer and examining them under a microscope

Colonoscopy: a procedure that looks inside your rectum and colon for polyps, abnormalities, and cancer

Digital rectal exam: an exam of your rectum performed by a doctor or nurse, who inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum to feel for anything abnormal

Fecal occult blood test: small samples of your stool and the possible blood in it being checked under a microscope.

History: a nurse or doctor will take your health habits, past illnesses, and treatments.

Physical exam: a nurse or doctor will check your body for general signs of health and disease, lumps, or anything else that may be unusual.

Sigmoidoscopy: a nurse or doctor looks inside the rectum and lower colon for polyps using a sigmoidoscope (a thin, tubelike instrument with a light and a lens for viewing) and removing samples to be checked under a microscope for signs of cancer.

Virtual colonoscopy: a series of x-rays of the colon combined by a computer to create more detailed images. This is known as computed tomography and it makes it easier for health professionals to figure out more information about the inside surface of your colon.

Recovery & Treatment

bowel surgeryBlocking/Holes: whether your tumor has blocked or created a hole in your colon

CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen) Levels: if the CEA levels in your blood have increased, it may be an indicator of cancer being present

General Health: pain or conditions occurring in other parts of your body.

Recurring Cancer: whether your cancer will or has returned in another part of your body after previous treatments

Stage of Cancer: whether your cancer is present in the inner lining of your colon only, involves your whole colon, or has spread to other places in your body.

How does cancer spread in my body?

Blood: Cancer invades the veins and capillaries and travels through your blood to other places in your body.

Lymph System: cancer invades and travels through your lymph vessels to other places in your body.

Tissue: cancer invades the normal tissue in your body that surrounds the tumors.

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Find Your Bowel Surgery Specialist

So I have diagnosed colon cancer. How will my doctor be able to find out if my cancer cells have spread within my rectum or to other parts of my body? The following tests and procedures are used by your doctor to stage your cancer and find out if metastasis has occurred.

Depending on the stage of cancer, the location of your tumor, and whether your cancer has recurred, a surgeon may be needed to remove the cancerous materials from your bowels. Bowel surgery, also known as colorectal surgery, is the most common treatment for all stages of colon cancer.  The types of surgery you may have to undergo are:

Local excision: used to remove a very early stage cancer without having to cut through your abdominal wall. A tube will be inserted through your rectum into your colon and cancer will be cut out. If your cancer is in a polyp that is cut out, this procedure is called a polypectomy.

Some additional therapies you may have to undergo after surgery to increase your chances of a cure are:

Talk with your doctor about which treatment is right for your cancer. If you do end up requiring bowel (colorectal) surgery, there are many routes you can take to a full recovery.

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