How successful is colon cancer surgery, and what are the risks?

Doctor's Answers (1)

The success of colon cancer surgery depends a lot on the stage of the disease. The earlier the stage, the higher the chance of cure of the cancer.

However, with current options of chemotherapy regime, it is still possible to achieve a high chance of cure with later stages of colon cancer.

For instance, when the cancer has spread to the liver (stage 4), and liver alone, by removing all the tumor nodules in the liver, together with chemotherapy treatment, it is possible to achieve 40% to 50% chance of long term survival. 

The risks of colon surgery can include the following:

Common Complications:

  1. Wound infection
  2. Anastomotic Leak
  3. Postoperative bleeding
  4. Prolonged ileus
  5. Altered bowel habits including faecal incontinence
  6. Sepsis - UTI / Chest infection
  7. Wound parasthesia
  8. Bowel Obstruction
  9. Anastomotic stenosis

Rare Complications

  1. Intra-operative incidental organ injury
  2. Entero-cutaneous fistula
  3. Deep Vein Thrombosis
  4. Incisional hernia

(adopted from the College of Surgeons Risk Assessment Proforma)

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