Early colon cancer detection means earlier treatment
the treatment options?
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[April 26, 2012]
(ARA) -- Colon cancer is the No.
2 cancer killer in the United States because it frequently catches
people unaware, according to the National Cancer Institute. But half
of the colon-cancer deaths each year could be avoided if every adult
older than 50 is screened, according to the American Cancer Society.
Preventative screening is an important first step in
detecting colon cancer; however, it is the decisions you need to
make if a screening comes back positive that can influence your
future health. When caught early, colon cancer is highly treatable.
Treatment for colon cancer ranges from chemotherapy to surgery.
Minimally invasive -- also called laparoscopic -- colon cancer
surgery has been made possible thanks to advances in technology.
Minimally invasive surgery uses state-of-the-art technology to
reduce the damage to human tissue during a procedure. In most
procedures, a surgeon makes several small 3/4-inch incisions and
inserts thin tubes, or access ports, into the patient's abdomen. A
miniature camera is then placed through one of the port sites so the
surgical team can view the procedure as a magnified image on video
monitors in the operating room. Then, specialized instruments are
placed through the other port sites to perform the procedure.
Surgery for colon cancer usually entails removing the cancer, along
with a section of colon on either side of the cancer spot. Finally
one of the port site incisions is elongated several inches so that
the specimen can be removed along with nearby lymph nodes.
Minimally invasive procedures have been proven to be as effective
as traditional open surgery. More than 20 million Americans have had
a minimally invasive procedure. Not only do these procedures usually
provide the same outcomes to open surgery, they may offer
significant benefits as well:
Since a minimally invasive procedure requires smaller incisions
than conventional surgery (usually about the diameter of a
dime), patients may heal much faster (e.g., patients who
underwent minimally invasive colectomy for colon cancer returned
to work five to 26 days quicker than with a traditional
procedure, according to a study conducted by the Advisory Board
Decreases the risk of acquiring
infections. Laparoscopic surgery for hysterectomy,
cholecystectomy (gall bladder) and appendectomy reduced the risk
of hospital-acquired infections by 52 percent when compared to
open surgery, according to a study published in Surgical
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stays. Minimally invasive procedures help get patients out of
the hospital (up to seven days) and back to their normal routine
(average of 36.4 days) sooner than conventional open surgery,
according to studies published in Surgical Innovation and the
Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
Most incisions are so small that it's hard to even notice them
after the incisions have healed.
Less pain. Because
these procedures are less invasive than conventional open
surgery, there is typically less pain involved.
Cost savings. Patients who undergo
minimally invasive surgery save between $438 and $8,286 in
hospital costs, compared to those who undergo conventional open
surgery, according to studies published in Surgical Innovation
and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
Colon cancer can be a deadly and costly disease, but if caught
early, can be treated successfully and with less invasive or costly
options. Getting screened when recommended can help a person start
treatment early, potentially without having ever experienced a
symptom of colon cancer.
If you are over 50 and have never been screened, now is the time.
If you have been diagnosed with colon cancer, talk with your doctor
about the potential for minimally invasive surgery treatment. For
additional information, visit
This article is sponsored by Ethicon Endo-Surgery.
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