Skip to content

Colorectal Cancer Health Center

Font Size

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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Colorectal cancer cells
    The right diagnosis is the most important factor.
    man with a doctor
    Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
     
    sauteed cherry tomatoes
    Fight cancer one plate at a time.
    bladder cancer x-ray
    Do you know the warning signs?
     
    bread
    ARTICLE
    Colon vs Rectal Cancer
    VIDEO
     
    New Colorectal Treatments
    VIDEO
    can lack of sleep affect your immune system
    FEATURE
     
    Cancer Facts Quiz
    QUIZ
    Virtual Colonoscopy
    VIDEO
     
    Picture of the Colon
    ANATOMY
    Vitamin D
    SLIDESHOW
     

    WebMD Special Sections