When you’re diagnosed, the first decision point for almost all cancer treatment is to ask whether surgery is actually an option. That’s because in many cases, and assuming you’re healthy enough to get the procedure, surgery can be your best chance at a cure.
There are three main approaches to surgery for colon cancer: open, laparoscopic and robotic. Ultimately, the data from years of procedures and many thousands of patients tells us that these techniques are all equally successful at getting the tumor out. The absolute, most important consideration is the method your surgeon is most comfortable with and that person’s track record and experience.
If you are able to have a laparoscopic surgery (which uses smaller incisions), the advantages include quicker recovery time and less pain than open surgery. In both cases, the incisions are through the belly. But smaller incisions heal into smaller scars. And for a good number of people, that’s significant.
Surgeons do differ on the details, and some surgeons prefer robotic surgery, while others still prefer open surgery. Additionally, surgeons may recommend the traditional approach for patients with very large or advanced tumors or severe heart and lung problems.
If the disease is confined to the colon wall, doctors will usually attempt to remove it through surgery. There are a lot of options and surgical techniques to consider, so we asked some leading surgeons to weigh in.
There is plenty of marketing information out there about the best surgery techniques, and the best places to have your operation done. Doing your own research is crucial before committing to any treatment.
Choosing Your Colon Surgeon
The Benefits of Robotic Surgery
How to Choose a Surgeon – Does Volume Matter?