Colorectal Cancer,Metastatic or Recurrent - Surgery
Surgery to remove cancer may be used to treat
metastatic or recurrent colorectal cancer. The type of
surgery chosen depends upon the
stage of the cancer. Surgery may be used to remove cancer that is in the colon or rectum. Or surgery may be done to remove cancer that has spread to other organs in the body.
Surgical options include:
- Bowel resection. This operation
involves cutting into the abdomen to reach the area of the colon or rectum that
is affected by the cancer. The surgeon cuts out the cancer 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. In this operation the surgeon cuts
out cancer that has spread to the liver and also cuts out parts of the liver that are
next to the cancer. Up to half of your liver can be removed as long as the rest
is healthy. If the cancer in your liver is too large to remove with surgery, you may be given chemotherapy to shrink the tumor. If the tumor becomes small enough, it can be removed with surgery.
- 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. The ends of your colon or
rectum are rejoined during surgery. If they can't be rejoined, you may need a
colostomy. Most people do not need a permanent
For more information, see:
- Bowel Disease: Caring for Your Ostomy.
When cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the
kind of surgery you will need depends on where the cancer is and how big the
tumor is. Sometimes surgery is used not to cure your cancer but to make your
life more comfortable. If a tumor is blocking your colon, for example, the
surgeon may remove it to allow your intestine to work normally. If advanced
cancer is blocking your rectum, your doctor may place an expandable tube,
called a stent, in the rectum to unblock it.
What To Think About
Surgery does not usually cure
metastatic or recurrent colorectal cancer. But it may relieve pain and
discomfort, slow the spread of the disease, and help you live longer.