How bowel cancer surgery is done

Surgery is the main treatment indicated for bowel cancer, as it corresponds to a faster and more effective way to remove most tumor cells, being able to cure cancer in the milder cases of grade 1 and 2, or delay its development in the most severe cases.

The type of surgery used depends on the location of the cancer, its type, size and how much it has spread in the body, and it may be necessary to remove only a small piece of the intestinal wall or remove an entire portion.

In any type of surgery, the doctor may recommend other treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation, to eliminate cancer cells that have not been removed and to prevent the tumor from developing. In the most severe cases, where the chances of cure are very low, these treatments can also serve to relieve symptoms. See more details on treatment for bowel cancer.

1. Undeveloped cancer surgery

When the cancer is still in its early stages, the doctor usually recommends performing a simpler surgery, since only a small portion of the intestine has been affected, which is the case of small malignant polyps. To perform this surgery, the doctor uses a small tube, similar to the colonoscopy exam, which has at its end an instrument capable of removing pieces of the intestinal wall.

Thus, the doctor removes the cancer cells and some healthy cells around the affected region to ensure that the cancer does not develop again. The cells removed during surgery are sent to the laboratory for analysis.

After the laboratory analysis, the doctor assesses the degree of change in the malignant cells and evaluates the need for a new surgery to remove more tissue.

This surgery is done in the doctor's office and, therefore, it is not necessary to use any type of anesthesia, and only mild sedation can be used. Thus, it is possible to return home on the same day, without having to stay in the hospital.

2. Cancer surgery developed

When the cancer is already in a more advanced stage, the surgery is more extensive and, therefore, it is necessary that it be performed in the hospital under general anesthesia, and it is also necessary that the person remains in the hospital for a few days before returning home to be monitored. and to ensure that there are no complications.

In some cases, before performing the surgery, it may be necessary for the person to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy sessions to reduce the size of the tumor and, thus, be possible not to remove large parts of the intestine.

Depending on the extent and severity of bowel cancer, two types of surgery can be performed:

  • Open surgery, in which a cut is made in the belly to remove a larger portion of the intestine;
  • Laparoscopic surgery, in which small holes are made in the abdominal region through which a medical device is inserted, which is responsible for removing a portion of the intestine.

After removing the affected part, the surgeon connects the two parts of the intestine, allowing the organ to function again. However, in cases where it is necessary to remove a very large part of the intestine or the surgery is very complicated, the doctor may connect the intestine directly to the skin, known as an ostomy, to allow the intestine to recover before connecting the two parties. Understand what it is and how you should take care of the ostomy.