What is Colorectal Cancer?
Cancer in the colon/rectum
Cancer in general is a particular type of cell within your body that has begun to grow abnormally. Colorectal cancer is related to the cells within the colon that have begun to grow & create a mass in your intestine. This may have been identified through a scan, colonoscopy or other symptoms you might have had.
Colorectal Cancer Treatment
Undergoing surgery to treat colorectal surgery
You may need chemotherapy, radiation, other stints or procedures to help you continue to move your bowels while you’re undergoing the therapy for your colon cancer. Ultimately, we want to get you to having surgery to remove the cancer. And that’s where the general surgeon, like Dr. Joshua Taylor, comes in.
The goal of colorectal cancer surgery is to:
→ cure you of cancer
→ remove all of the cancer that’s there
→ check the lymph nodes, which is the first place that the colon cancer often spreads
→ evaluate anywhere else in the abdomen that there might be some cancer that needs to be removed
The Surgical Clinic has a variety of surgeons who specialize in colorectal cancer surgery throughout Nashville and Middle Tennessee.
Who is at risk?
Who is at risk for colorectal cancer? → We know that there are some people who are more at risk for developing colon cancer. Whether that is because family members have had it or other potential gene mutations are evident. But, we’re also finding that people who are above the age of 50 are more at risk. This is something that screening can potentially pick up on and help prevent.
Risk factors of getting colorectal cancer:
→ Anyone over the age of 50
→ Alcohol and tobacco users
→ Lack of physical exercise
→ Low-fiber diet
→ Personal history of inflammatory intestinal conditions
→ Family history of colon cancer
Colorectal surgery risk factors
Infection → The colon/rectum naturally have bacteria in it, so there is a risk of infection. Often times before the surgery we will have you undergo a bowel cleanse. Both to empty out any stool in your colon as well as with antibiotics to decrease the number of bacteria in your colon.
Excessive bleeding → The colon and rectum have a very good blood supply, presenting a possible risk of bleeding during the procedure. As specialized general surgeon in colorectal surgery, when we perform the surgery, we tie off those blood vessels and make sure there is no ongoing evidence of bleeding.
A “leak” → When we remove part of the colon and put it back together, that is called an anastomosis, and that anastomosis needs to heal. So there is a risk that if it doesn’t heal, that’s something called a “leak”. This may cause a need for other procedures or being placed on antibiotics or even surgery again to repair or fix this problem.
Will I need a bag after colorectal cancer surgery?
One of the questions that often comes up when we talk about colon and rectal cancer surgery is “will I need a bag?”
Often times, this depends on exactly where you cancer is and the type of surgery we need to perform.
The can either be something called a colostomy or an ileostomy. Your colorectal surgeon will explain to you in detail why you may need that.
Reasons you may need a colostomy or ileostomy:
If you’ve already received chemotherapy or radiation before your surgery, you may need to give more time for things to heal
There may be specific things, such as it creating a blockage or other specifics that would require for you to need an ostomy
Surgery for Colorectal Cancer
Minimally invasive colorectal cancer surgery
Surgery for colorectal cancer is diverse. Generally, this surgery is now performed minimally invasively with laparoscopic or robotic surgery. For you, that means there are multiple small incisions (versus traditional surgery with larger incisions). The biggest incision is usually between three and four inches where we remove the part of the colon that contained the cancer. Typically after surgery people are in the hospital 2-3 days to recover. Once you return home it usually takes several weeks before you’re ready to return to work and normal activities.
Colorectal Cancer doctors
What doctors are involved in treating colorectal cancer?
Colorectal cancer often involves multiple treatments. You may or may not have met with a gastroenterologist, a medical oncologist, and then the general surgeon. Oftentimes, all three of those doctors are involved in helping take care of your colorectal cancer.
Find a colorectal cancer surgeon
The board-certified general surgeons at TSC Rutherford in Smyrna, TN specialize in advanced minimally invasive surgery (like robotic surgery) for treating colorectal cancer. Give us a call today to learn more.
General/robotic surgeon in Smyrna, TN
Dr. Willie Melvin
Dr. Joshua Taylor