What is colorectal cancer?
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 or colonoscopy or other symptoms you might have had.
Colorectal Cancer Treatment
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 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 and evaluate anywhere else in the abdomen that there might be some cancer that needs to be removed.
Colorectal cancer risks
Risk factors of getting colorectal cancer
→ Being over the age of 50
→ Use of alcohol and tobacco
→ Lack of physical exercise
→ Low-fiber diet
→ Personal history of inflammatory intestinal conditions
→ Family history of colon cancer
Potential risks of colorectal cancer surgery
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.
Colorectal cancer surgery in Nashville and Middle TN
Will I need a bag after colorectal cancer surgery – colostomy or ileostomy
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
Minimally invasive surgery to colorectal cancer
When we do colorectal cancer surgery, it’s very important that we remove not only the colon or the rectum where the cancer is, but make sure that we’ve removed enough that there are clear margins, which means there is now cancer where we have removed it. We also want to check the lymph nodes. We will remove the lymph nodes that are close to the colon , which is where the cancer may have spread to first.
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.
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 Surgeon
If you’re looking for a colorectal cancer surgeon near you (in Nashville or Middle Tennessee), schedule a consultation at The Surgical Clinic to meet with one of our board-certified general surgeons who provide colorectal surgery.
General surgeons in Nashville & Middle Tennessee
surgical oncologists in nashville
Dr. Mariana Chavez
Dr. William Polk
Dr. Patrick Wolf
St. Thomas West Clinic