Rectal Cancer Surgery

Surgery is the most common treatment for rectal cancer. The type of procedure recommended for a patient will depend on the size, extent and location of his or her tumor. For instance, if the cancer is small and has not spread outside of its original location, a surgeon may be able to remove just the tumor and a small amount of healthy tissue outside the tumor’s borders. If the cancer has spread through several layers of the rectum or cancerous cells are found near the anus, more extensive surgery may be required.

The procedures that may be used for rectal cancer surgery include:

  • A local excision, in which a tumor is removed along with a minimal amount of healthy tissue
  • A low anterior resection, in which a tumor, the surrounding rectal tissue and the nearby lymph nodes are removed, and the remaining ends of the colon are reattached
  • An abdominoperineal resection, in which the cancerous section of the rectum, nearby lymph nodes, rectal sphincter and anus are removed and a colostomy bag is attached to an opening in the abdominal wall to collect waste as it exits the body. 

At Moffitt Cancer Center, our surgeons are highly experienced in the field of rectal cancer surgery, having performed many different gastrointestinal procedures ranging from the common to the complex.  Additionally, the surgeons at Moffitt have two separate goals for each procedure they perform: removing as much of the cancer as possible and helping the patient maintain the highest quality of life. When minimally invasive or sphincter-sparing techniques are indicated, we present these options to our patients as part of a comprehensive, multispecialty treatment plan. And, regardless of the type of surgery a patient chooses to pursue, we ensure that all necessary follow-up treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, are seamlessly integrated into his or her treatment plan.

Referrals are not required to undergo rectal cancer surgery at Moffitt. To learn more about the surgical procedures we offer for gastrointestinal tumors, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online.

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