If you've been diagnosed with cancer, your doctor will explore options for your treatment and discuss them with you. The treatment recommendation is often based on the stage of cancer when it's discovered. Cancer that's detected early is easier to treat, but your doctor is sure to choose the right type of treatment for your personal condition. Colon cancer treatment is customized just for you and your situation. However, surgery is a common treatment for colon cancer.
Here's an overview of the procedures for surgical colon cancer treatment.
A colon resection is a surgery that cuts out the part of your colon that has cancer. Once that's done, the two ends of your colon with healthy tissue are joined together. This surgery is often done through an incision on your abdomen. However, this can also be a minimally invasive procedure if you're a candidate for it. You'll probably need to stay in the hospital for a few days after this surgery. Your recovery may go quicker with minimally invasive surgery than with open surgery.
You may also need to have colostomy surgery with your colon resection. Colostomies aren't as common for colon cancer treatment as they were in the past due to new treatment protocols with radiation and chemotherapy. However, it's possible you might need a colostomy temporarily or permanently after your resection. When this surgery is done, your bowel is connected to an opening on your abdominal wall so your bowel contents can pass into a bag rather than exit your rectum as usual.
If your colon cancer has spread to your organs, your doctor might perform a procedure that kills the cancer cells rather than cut them out. They might do this at the same time they perform your colon resection. This could involve using radiofrequency waves that create heat or cryoablation that freezes cancer tumors on organs like the liver and lungs. These treatments aren't always suitable, but when they are, your doctor might consider using them so you can avoid further surgery.
Surgical procedures may not be used alone for your colon cancer treatment. Radiation treatments are often given to prevent the cancer from returning by killing stray cells that remain behind after surgery. The treatments might also be given before the surgical procedure to shrink the tumor so it's easier to remove. Chemotherapy might be given at the same time as well since it can make radiation treatments more effective and make your cancer surgery easier on you and help you avoid the need for a colostomy when possible.