Keyhole Surgery Works with Colon Cancer

Less invasive technique effective, with faster recovery time, less pain

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WEDNESDAY, June 22, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Keyhole, or laparoscopic, surgery is a safe option for the removal of tumors from the colon, claims a study published online Tuesday by The Lancet Oncology.

The study included more than 1,200 colon cancer patients from 29 hospitals in seven European countries. Half the patients had keyhole surgery, and half had traditional open surgery.

While keyhole surgery took longer to perform than open surgery, patients who had keyhole surgery had less blood loss during surgery, earlier recovery of bowel function, required fewer painkillers and had shorter hospital stays than patients who had open surgery.

Death and illness rates in the two groups of patients were the same.

There's been extensive debate over the safety and short-term benefits of keyhole surgery. While this form of minimally invasive surgery reduces surgical trauma for colon cancer patients, there is some concern that keyhole surgery could lead to tumor recurrence.

"Laparoscopic [keyhole] surgery can be used for safe and radical resection of cancer in the right, left and sigmoid colon," study author Jaap Bonjer, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, said in a prepared statement. "Further studies of the current surgical approaches for colon cancer are warranted to establish the optimum procedure for the individual patient with colon cancer."

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about colon cancer treatment.

SOURCE: The Lancet Oncology, news release, June 21, 2005

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