Colorectal Patient Education Booklet (PDF 1.56 MB)
Duke Cancer Institute’s colorectal surgeons perform high volumes of major colorectal cancer procedures such as:
Duke has five board-certified colorectal surgeons, who are uniquely qualified to perform the most intricate procedures that require years of additional training and special accreditation. One of our liver specialists performs liver resections for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, a procedure not available at most medical centers.
Our surgeons rank among the highest in the nation in their ability to preserve bodily function following the removal of colon cancer.
Surgery is the most common treatment for localized or early stage colorectal cancers and our surgeons specialize in laparoscopic colon and rectal surgery as well as sphincter-preserving operations for low rectal cancers.
There are several surgical treatments for colon cancer and treatment varies based on the size, stage, and location of the tumor.
Local excision of small, malignant colon polyps is performed without making a cut into the abdomen. If a small cancerous polyp has not spread into the colon wall, the doctor may be able to remove the polyp during the colonoscopy, leaving no scars and eliminating the cancer.
The Duke Cancer Institute also offers minimally invasive surgery, such as radiofrequency ablation and cryosurgery to destroy abnormal tissue and cancer cells.
In some procedures, parts of the colon or rectum may be removed. One or more lymph nodes may be removed for testing.
Sometimes the healthy remaining parts can be reconnected, but if that isn’t possible, the surgeon may create a hole (stoma) that will empty the body’s waste into an outer bag (colostomy or ileostomy). Sometimes the bag can be removed after the colon has healed, but sometimes it will be permanent.
When cancer is very advanced, the surgeon may perform palliative surgery, which is surgery to remove a blockage in the colon or rectum to improve symptoms.
Learn how to make an appointment at the Duke Cancer Institute.