New Option for Colon Cancer

Beating colon cancer often means facing major surgery. Treatment usually means removing a portion of their colon.

Cotton-O'Neil surgeon Bill Sachs says, in the past, that meant what's called an open procedure. Doctors would cut a 20- to 30- centimeter incision so they could see what they were working on. Dr. Sachs says the procedure would cause significant discomfort and prolonged hospitalization.

Now, there's a minimally invasive option in laproscopic surgery. Surgeons make two small incisions, one for the scope, another for an instrument. A third incision is also made for the surgeon to use his hands that's around seven centimeters -- a third of what was needed in the open approach. Dr. Sachs says the laproscope allows surgeons to see the area they're working on without needing such a large incision.

The laproscopic procedure cuts hospital stays by an average of two days. It also means less pain for the patient and less chance of a hernia, a common side effect.

Dr. Sachs says the laproscopic approach has been used in benign colon disease for awhile, but it's only in the past six months that studies show it has as good of an outcome for cancerous patients.

"It's going to make a big difference in many people's lives," he said.

You'll find more information on this and other minimally invasive procedures at

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