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Colorectal Cancer

What is colorectal cancer?

Colorectal cancer is a malignant tumor of the large intestine. Unlike benign tumors, malignant tumors can invade surrounding organs and spread to other regions of the body through the lymphatic system or bloodstream.

Who is at risk?
Over 150,000 Americans are diagnosed every year with colorectal cancer. Over 90% of the patients are over age 40, at which point the risk doubles every ten years. Other high risk factors include a family history of colorectal cancer or colon polyps, the presence of ulcerative colitis, a history of uterine, ovarian or breast cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer?

The more common signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer are:

  • Blood in stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Which test(s) and/or procedure(s) can diagnose colorectal cancer?
    Procedures that detect colorectal cancer include a digital rectal exam, x-ray with barium enema, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and fecal occult blood test.

    How is colorectal cancer treated by colorectal surgery?

    The majority of colorectal cancers are treated by colorectal surgery . The goal of colorectal cancer surgery is to remove the colon cancer and the adjacent lymph nodes which may contain microscopic tumor cells. The lymph nodes lie adjacent to the blood vessels. All of our operations are standardized to include the lymph nodes draining the section of colon being removed. We typically remove the pericolonic lymph nodes (red and purple) as well as the highest lymph nodes or N4 regional lymph nodes (green) to maximize the likelihood of cure.

    Dr. Blumberg’s technique differs from the usual laparoscopic colorectal surgery technique called laparoscopic-assisted colectomy whereby the surgeon performs only part of the operation laparoscopically. In Dr. Blumberg’s technique, the entire operation is performed laparoscopically including the colon removal surgery and the reconstruction or anastomosis of the colon.

    colorectal surgery

    Dr. Blumberg has extensive experience removing cancers of both the colon and rectum via a completely laparoscopic "band-aid" approach.

    References: Blumberg D and Ramanathan RK. Treatment of Colon and Rectal Cancer. J Clin Gastroenterol, 2002; 34: 15-26.

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