Colon and Rectal cancers affect up to 1:12 patients in their lifetimes. These cancers become more common with age and can be detected by colonoscopy. Most people should have their first colonoscopy at the age of 50. Some people require colonoscopy earlier if they have increased risk factors for colorectal cancer. Colon and rectal cancers are often treated with surgery alone or in combination with chemotherapy and/or radiation depending on the type, extent, and location of the tumor. Usually part of the colon or rectum is removed and reconnected. In some situations, a stoma/ostomy may be required.
Surgery can be done with open or laparoscopic techniques. Laparoscopic techniques minimize incision size and hospital stay, and improve recovery. Baystate Colorectal surgeons routinely use laparoscopic techniques to treat colon and rectal cancer when appropriate.