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Colorectal Cancer

The colon and rectum are part of the large intestine. Their main function is to pass solid waste from the body. Colorectal cancer usually starts in the glands of the colon or rectum lining. Almost all cases of colorectal cancer begin as non-cancerous (benign) polyps that slowly develop into cancer.1 Like many cancers, colorectal cancer can spread to lymph nodes or other organs.Colorectal cancer symptoms may include:

  • blood in the stool
  • changes in bowel habits
  • pelvic pain
  • narrow stools
  • unexplained weight loss

Colorectal cancer affects nearly 1.3 million people worldwide each year and is the fourth most common cause of cancer death. Colorectal cancer is more common in men, in people over age 60, and in developed countries.

diagram of colon

The Intestinal Tract

For rectal cancer, surgeons perform low anterior resection (LAR) to connect the rectum to the colon after removing the cancer. An abdominoperineal re-section (APR) may also be performed if the rectal cancer is located too close to the anus. Colorectal procedures are usually performed via traditional open surgery, meaning a large open abdominal incision is made from the pubic bone to just below the breastbone. While open surgery can provide an effective treatment for colorectal cancer, it often involves significant trauma and a long recovery.

Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive alternative to open surgery. However, this approach is considered to be technically challenging due to the extensive dissection required, along with the limitations of traditional laparoscopic technology.

diagram comparing traditional versus laproscopic surgery

If your doctor recommends colorectal surgery, ask about minimally invasive robotic surgery. Robotic surgery requires just a few tiny incisions so you can recover, move on to additional treatment, if needed, and get back to your life. da Vinci Surgery offers colorectal cancer patients the potential for excellent cancer control. When compared to open surgery, da Vinci may offer the following potential benefits:

  • Less blood loss
  • Less pain
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Quicker return of bowel function
  • Quicker return to a normal diet
  • Faster recovery