Bowel Cancer

Being diagnosed with bowel cancer is an incisive event in someone's life. It is often a confusing and anxious time. In most cases radical surgery is the main treatment and success rates are high. Surgical quality and precision are paramount for success. There is no one-fits-all solution and treatment strategies need to be tailored to individual patients' needs.

The large intestine is broadly divided in the colon and the rectum. Bowel cancer can occur in any part of the large intestine and is slightly more common on the left side (sigmoid colon and rectum) than in the other parts. The cancer typically arises from the inner lining of the bowel and if untreated has a tendency to grow through the bowel wall and enter blood and lymphatic vessels, through which it can be spread to other parts of the body (metastases). A majority of cancers are caught before this happens and can be treated with high success rates. 

The three main symptoms of bowel cancer are:

1. persistent blood in the stools – that occurs for no obvious reason or is associated with a change in bowel habit

2. a persistent change in your bowel habit – which usually means going more often, with looser stools

3. persistent lower abdominal (tummy) pain, bloating or discomfort – that's always caused by eating and may be associated with loss of appetite or significant unintentional weight loss

source: NHS: click here for more information

Should you be​ experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help.

After an in-depth discussion about your symptoms and a physical examination, we could arrange some basic tests to assess your bowels. These may include a camera test (colonoscopy) or as an alternative a scan. With these tests we can already rule out bowel cancer with a high probability.

In case you are already diagnosed with bowel cancer, a team of specialists will discuss all test results and we will have a detailed discussion with you of what would be the best treatment strategy. Your input and your expectations are crucial and will be very much part of that discussion.Surgery is not the only treatment, it can be accompanied by other forms of cancer treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. A multidisciplinary team of specialists, including oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and surgeon will propose a detailed treatment plan that offers the best chances of eradicating the cancer. 


Here are some of the procedures for bowel cancer (click on procedures to learn more):

- Right hemicolectomy

- Total/subtotal colectomy

- High anterior resection

- Anterior resection of rectum

- Abdominoperineal resection

- Transanal resection of the rectum

- Transanal minimally-invasive surgery (TAMIS)

- Colostomy/ ileostomy