Colon or Rectal Cancer Surgery

Patients with newly diagnosed colon and rectal cancers are evaluated by surgical oncologists working in the context of a comprehensive multidisciplinary team in the Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers.

Surgical Oncologists have undergone additional specialty training in oncology, and offer the highest degree of specialization and expertise. Colon and rectal cancer surgery is generally considered complex surgery and published data have demonstrated that hospitals and surgeons with the highest volume experience with specific operations have the lowest complication and death rates. Recognizing the relationship between frequency of performing an operation and the quality of outcomes, each surgeon in the Division of Surgical Oncology focuses his or her clinical practice on the management of one or two diseases.

Patients with newly diagnosed colon and rectal cancers are evaluated by surgical oncologists working in the context of a comprehensive multidisciplinary team in the Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers. Patients with colon or rectal cancer are evaluated by a team, allowing them to meet experts in colon and rectal cancer surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, and gastroenterology in one multidisciplinary clinic visit. This provides patients with well-coordinated, state-of-the-art cancer staging and treatment planning.

In patients with rectal cancer, emphasis is placed on:

  • Accurate preoperative staging
  • Nerve-sparing surgery
  • Total mesorectal excision (TME)
  • Sphincter preservation

Genetic counseling is offered through the Center for Cancer Risk Assessment to assess hereditary risk in young patients and patients with strong family histories of colon or rectal cancer.

Treatment recommendations for patients with advanced, recurrent or metastatic disease are drawn from a broad array of options that require close coordination between surgery, radiation therapy and medical oncology. For example, the complex treatment of recurrent rectal cancer may involve:

  • Radical surgical resection
  • Intraoperative radiation therapy
  • Plastic surgical reconstruction and chemotherapy

Treatment of metastatic disease may require a combination of liver surgery, placement of a hepatic artery infusion pump for the administration of regional chemotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, and systemic chemotherapy.

Clinical trials to assess new treatment regimens are offered to patients. Click here to search our open trials. In addition, the Surgical Oncology Research Laboratories maintain a robust basic science research program to develop new and effective therapies for patients with metastatic colon and rectal cancer. A wide variety of educational and support services are available for patients and their families as they go through diagnosis, treatment and recovery.