Colon and Rectal Cancer Surgical Options
Management of colorectal cancer requires the innovative combination of surgery and chemotherapy available at UPMC CancerCenter.
- Minimally invasive (laparoscopic) colon resection: UPMC CancerCenter's surgeons have particular expertise in a number of highly specialized technologies, including minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgical procedures to remove cancerous tumors of the colon and rectum, offering patients excellent care and a more comfortable experience.
- Sphincter-sparing rectal surgery: Treatment of cancers of the lower rectum often results in a permanent stoma (opening in the body); however, recent advancements in surgical techniques have enabled surgeons to remove tumors while preserving bodily functions.
These techniques include:
- Local excision: the removal of a rectal tumor through the anus, which requires no incisions through the abdomen.
- Coloanal J-pouch: an operation that removes advanced rectal cancers located close to the anal sphincter muscles. The procedure removes the entire rectum but preserves the anal canal and sphincter muscles. A pouch then is formed from the colon and sewn inside the anal canal to store the stool until it can be eliminated.
- Neoadjuvant therapy: treatment prior to surgery to shrink very large or advanced tumors that otherwise would require a colostomy (external opening into the colon from the outside of the body). Therapy consists of radiation and mild chemotherapy given on an outpatient basis for approximately three months before surgery. After the neoadjuvant therapy is completed, surgeons wait an additional six weeks to allow for maximal shrinkage of the cancer.
Regional Perfusion for Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer that has spread to the peritoneal (abdominal) cavity can be especially difficult to treat because it spreads hundreds of tiny seed-like tumors throughout the abdomen.
A regional perfusion technique called hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemoperfusion, or HIPEC, has shown significant promise in the treatment of this challenging cancer.
HIPEC delivers high concentrations of chemotherapy directly to the site of the cancer rather than through the bloodstream, as in traditional chemotherapy. The chemotherapy is heated and then circulated through an organ or within a certain region, bathing the cancer in the medication to treat it.
Learn more about the HIPEC procedure at UPMC.