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Colon Cancer Treatment

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer it can be scary, to say the least. If the cancer is caught in its early stages you may not have experienced symptoms, which can make the diagnosis completely shocking. But rest assured. The most modern treatment options and most experienced surgeons are right here in the Overland Park, Kansas area.

The Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Overland Park Regional Medical Center offers comprehensive and leading-edge cancer treatments close to where you live and work. A committed multi-disciplinary team of Kansas City colorectal surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, genetics counselors, clinical trials specialists, doctors and clinicians work seamlessly to ensure every patient has a treatment plan developed exclusively for them with the fastest time to treatment possible.

Colorectal Cancer Surgery Procedures

Many times, the treatment of colon cancer stages zero to three involves a surgical procedure. Surgery may also be used to treat stage four cancer if the tumor is blocking the bowel. Depending on the stage of cancer and where it is located, you may require one of the following procedures:

  • Polypectomy (stage zero and early stage one) - The cancer is removed as a part of the polyp during a colonoscopy
  • Local excision (stage zero and early stage one) - The cancer is removed from the surface of the colon wall. A small margin of additional tissue will also be removed
  • Partial colectomy – During this procedure the infected section of the colon is removed
  • Total colectomy – The entire colon is removed

Methods of Surgery for Colon Cancer

If a polyp is too large to be removed during a colonoscopy or if the cancer has progressed, you will need to see a colorectal surgeon. There are a three methods of surgery that your colorectal surgeon may perform. The method of surgery chosen has a lot to do with your surgeon’s level of comfort with a particular approach. It is essential that you are comfortable with your colon surgeon and your surgeon is comfortable with surgical approach.

  • Open Surgery – Your Kansas City colorectal surgeon will make an incision in the abdomen. The size of the incision is dependent on areas your surgeon needs to reach
  • Laparoscopic – This is a minimally invasive surgical method which uses a couple small incisions, special surgical instruments and a thin tube with a light and camera to help the colon surgeon see inside the abdomen
  • Robotic-Assisted - This is a leading-edge, minimally invasive surgical method. A robotic-trained colorectal surgeon will use the da Vinci robot to perform surgery. The robot allows for improved visualization, greater precision, better control and improved access to hard-to-reach areas

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Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery

Overland Park Regional Medical Center’s colorectal program features some of the country’s top colon surgeons. Many of our surgeons were early-adopters of this technology and have performed hundreds of successful robotic colorectal surgeries. Our surgeons take the time necessary to listen, answer questions, go over options and set expectations upfront.  They believe in collaborating with their patients to help them make the treatment decisions that fit their needs and lifestyle.

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The Benefits of Robotic Surgery

Robotic colorectal surgery is the leading minimally invasive surgical approach.. The benefits to you include:

  • Reduced pain
  • Less time in the hospital
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Minimal scaring
  • The chance of needing a permanent colostomy bag is reduced

Patients can expect four, eight-millimeter incisions where the robotic arms are inserted. They will also have one four-centimeter incision which is used as an extraction site. (After healing, it may even be difficult to find the four small incisions. For women, your robotic colon surgeon is able to place the four-centimeter incision below the bikini line. This can lead to a more cosmetically pleasant result with less pain and less chance of hernia.

For rectal cancer patients, the robotic surgical method can be particularly advantageous when compared to other approaches. The precision, visibility and maneuverability of the robot can allow the surgeon to get lower beneath the tumor possibly preventing the patient from needing permanent colostomy bag.

Robotic surgery may also be used to treat patients who suffer from diverticulitis, crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and other gastrointestinal conditions.

Non-surgical Colon Cancer Treatment Options

Depending on where the tumor is located or how far your cancer has progressed , non-surgical treatments may be used separately or in conjunction with surgery.

  • Radiofrequency ablation - Uses high-energy radio waves to destroy the tumor. This may be used when the cancer has spread to other organs.
  • Cryosurgery – Extreme cold is used to kill the infected tissue
  • Radiation therapy – High-energy rays are used to destroy the cancer
  • Chemotherapy – Injectable medicines used to kill cancer
  • Targeted therapy – Specifically formulated chemotherapy drugs used to target particular cell changes
  • Clinical trials – New therapies that are under investigation. These studies provide patients with access to the latest treatments

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Learn about how clinical trials can help you or your loved one:

Stages of Colon Cancer

If you are diagnosed with cancer, your physician will identify your current stage. Cancer stages are a way of describing how much cancer is in the body. This can be one of the most important factors when recommending a cancer treatment.

0 A very early stage also called carcinoma in situ. Abnormal cells are only discovered on the surface of the colon wall
1 This is when cancer cells have been found in the muscular layer of the colon wall
2 Cancer has spread through the muscle layer to the outermost layer of the colon wall
3 Cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes
4 An advanced stage of cancer. It has spread to other parts of the body, usually the liver and lungs