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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

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Colorectal Cancer, Metastatic or Recurrent - Surgery

Surgery may be used to remove cancer from the colon or rectum. Or it may be done to remove cancer that has spread to other organs in the body. The type of surgery chosen depends upon the stage of the cancer.

Surgery choices

  • Bowel resection.The surgeon cuts out the cancer in the colon or rectum as well as the parts of the colon or rectum that are next to it. Then the two healthy ends of the colon or rectum are sewn back together.
  • Liver resection. The surgeon cuts out cancer that has spread to the liver, as well as parts of the liver that are next to the cancer. If the cancer in your liver is too large to remove with surgery, you may be given chemotherapy. It can shrink the tumor so it can be removed.
  • Lung, adrenal, or ovarian resection, depending on where the cancer has spread and whether you are a good candidate for this surgery.

If cancer that has returned to your intestine is large, more of your colon or rectum may have to be removed. If the ends of your colon or rectum can't be rejoined, you may need a colostomy. Most people don't need a permanent colostomy.

Sometimes surgery is used not to cure your cancer but to make your life more comfortable. For example, the surgeon may create a colostomy to give you relief from symptoms caused by a tumor blocking your colon.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 29, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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