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Looking Good: Colon Cancer Keyhole Surgery

With Laparoscopy, Recovery Is Easier and Cancer Risk No Worse

Laparoscopic Procedure Good to Go continued...

Overall, laparoscopically assisted colon cancer surgery proved "safe for patients with colon cancer and must be applied cautiously and selectively," Nelson writes.

The benefits are moderate -- in terms of decreased duration of hospital stay and anesthesia, she says. That must be weighed against the increased length of surgery. Also, in 21% of the laparoscopic procedures, surgeons ended up doing the traditional procedure anyway.

"Patients prefer to undergo minimally invasive procedures even if the benefits are limited, possibly because aesthetic results are considered to be better," she writes. Because the procedure does not increase the patient's cancer risk -- and provides short-term benefits -- it is worthy of further study of its quality of life, cost, and cost-effectiveness as a treatment for colon cancer, she concludes.

SOURCE: Nelson, H. New England Journal of Medicine, May 13, 2004; vol 350: pp 2050-2059.

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