Uncontrolled growth of cancerous cells in the colon or rectum is known as colorectal cancer. Anaemia and bleeding in the rectum are the common symptoms of this disease. This type of cancer is formed in a person as he ages and due to the life style problems of the patient. Colorectal cancer can be cured by removing the affected part by surgical procedure. The common laparoscopic procedure followed by surgeon to remove the affected parts of rectum is medically referred by the term sphincter sparing surgery. If cancer is not cured by this treatment then the patient can be given palliative care only which will help to improve the quality of life of the patient.
Stages of colorectal cancer and its treatment for various stages
In the first stage of colorectal cancer in which cancer has spread to the first two layers of rectal wall, surgery is the best option as the cancer can be completely removed and the possibility of reappearance is very less in this stage. In the second stage of colorectal cancer, it would have spread to the mesorectum, but the lymph nodes remain unaffected. For patients in this stage of cancer, radiographic treatment and chemotherapy are recommended before starting surgical procedures. Stage 3 of colorectal cancer relates to cancers which have spread to the lymph nodes also. Standard treatment options for this stage of cancer are surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy. Stage IV colorectal cancer is that condition when the cancer has spread to distant organs which may include liver and peritoneum. Cancer in the fourth stage is not curable. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the only options that can be applied to such patients. These treatments have been found to be very effective in increasing the life expectancy of the patient.
For carrying out sphincter sparing surgery the laparoscope is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen and the other instruments for carrying out the surgery are inserted through other three small incisions. The video taken by the laparoscope is enlarged and displayed in front of the surgeon in a monitor. By seeing this video and remotely controlling the instruments inserted for surgery, the surgeon performs the surgery. In this surgery a portion of the sigmoid colon which has been inflicted with cancer is removed and the remaining parts are combined together.
In some cases, the patient’s rectum will also be affected by cancer. In such cases the cancerous rectum is also removed. An artificial stoma will be attached to the bottom of the colon and the same is fixed at the bottom left side of the abdomen with stitches. A pouch will be attached to this stoma for collecting the waste coming through the stoma. As the stoma is not having any muscles or mechanism to open when required, the waste keeps on coming continuously and the waste is accumulated in the pouch. The pouch will be emptied periodically and reattached to the stoma after completely cleaning it.