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    'Keyhole' Surgery Effective for Colon Cancer

    Researchers Say Operation With Small Incisions Works as Well as Traditional Surgery

    More Risks From Converted Surgeries

    A total of 143 people were converted from keyhole surgery to open surgery. These patients had the most complications after their operations, says the study.

    The most common reason for converting to an open surgery was to see how difficult it would be to remove the tumor. All keyhole surgeries were done by doctors who had performed at least 20 of the procedures before the study started.

    Conversions were more common among people with cancer of the rectum.

    Keyhole surgery didn't fare as well in people with rectal cancer.

    Gillou's study showed "impaired short-term outcomes" after keyhole surgery in patients with rectal cancer. For that reason, keyhole surgery is not yet justified for such patients, writes Gillou, who works at St. James' University Hospital in Leeds, England.

    About Colorectal Cancer

    Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer found in U.S. men and women, says the American Cancer Society (ACS).

    The ACS estimates that there will be nearly 105,000 new colon cancer cases and 40,340 new rectal cancer cases in the U.S. this year. Almost 56,300 people will die of colorectal cancer in 2005, the ACS predicts.

    Colorectal cancer's death rate has been falling for 15 years, says the ACS. As with many cancers (and other diseases), early detection often brings the best chance of survival.

    The ACS recommends that men and women of average risk begin screening for colorectal cancer at age 50. Screening should start earlier for people at higher risk of the disease, says the ACS.

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