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Less Invasive Colon Cancer Surgery as Effective

separator A 10-year study of colon cancer operations compared conventional surgery (in which doctors make a large incision in the abdomen to remove the cancerous part of the colon) with so-called “key-hole” or laparoscopic surgery, which uses several half-inch incisions. Results of the study showed that patients had the same success rates, no matter which type of surgery they had. Survival rates, recurrence of tumors and complications of surgery were all the same. And the patients who had the key-hole procedures experienced less pain and less time in the hospital.

This is reassuring news for colon cancer patients who may have heard that the more invasive surgeries have higher success rates. On the other hand, there are times when more invasive surgery is the most appropriate option—when tumors are not so easily accessible and when the cancer has spread to nearby organs or lymph nodes.

But the main message here is that if your doctor recommends a less invasive surgery for your colon cancer, you can rest assured that it can be a highly safe option.

New England Journal of Medicine, 13 May 2004.
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