At a glance
Colon cancer arises from growths that form within the large intestine. The colon is an expansive part of the digestive tract that extracts salts and water from waste leaving the body. There are no early signs of colon cancer in its initial stages. Over time, however, the disease progresses and signs become more apparent.
Colon cancer starts as non-cancerous cell clumps, we know as polyps. Regular screenings during colonoscopy identify colon polyps and are a way to remove them to prevent the growths from advancing to cancer.
A colonoscopy is a common diagnostic procedure carried out to remove and test polyps for signs of cancer. Although mostly benign, colon polyps range in size and can turn malignant. Fortunately, there are various treatments available for colon cancer, including immunotherapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted treatment.
How to prepare for the procedure
There are specific bowel instructions to follow before colon surgery, including dieting, bowel preparation and preparation to reduce infection. This will be discussed during your consultation.
What colon cancer surgery involves
A colectomy is a surgical procedure that entails the resection of all or sections of the colon. In addition, nearby lymph nodes, approximately twelve, are also removed to prevent the disease from spreading to other regions of the body. After colonic resection, the bowel will be reconnected (anastomosis), or a colostomy (stoma bag) will be used.
What to expect post-procedure
While the effects of colon surgery may seem long-term, you will get used to the after-effects over time. This is merely a basic guide; Dr Maraj will be able to provide further information should you require this.
Risks & complications
Possible risk includes infection of the wound, abdomen, pelvis, chest, urine, as well as an anastomotic leak. In addition, other complications include bleeding, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism or side effects due to the anaesthetic used. Recurrence or metastatic disease may occur as part of disease progression. While this is a common and generally safe procedure, complications may still occur. Guidelines and protocols will be followed to prevent complications.
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