Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine – the lower part of your digestive system and rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon – together they are known as colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is caused when normal cells divide uncontrollably and form a malignant mass or tumor in either the colon or the rectum. Most colorectal cancers form from the glandular cells that line both the colon and the rectum. This type of cancer is known as adenocarcinoma, and can spread to other parts of the body.

Although colorectal cancer can be hereditary, there are also several other factors that can increase your risk of developing it, including:

  • Age (over 50)
  • High fat/low fiber diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Smoking and drinking excessive alcohol
    Treatment for colorectal cancer varies depending on how far the disease has progressed. If the tumor is caught at an early stage, complete removal of the tumor during a colonoscopy may be possible. If your physician determines the cancer has grown into your colon, a colectomy may be recommended to remove the diseased part of the colon.

    Presently, most colon cancers in the United States are removed via traditional large incisions. In the last five to ten years, more and more surgeons have adopted a minimally invasive surgery approach. This usually involves a series of small puncture marks and a two-inch incision to remove the tumor.

    Boca Raton Regional Hospital recently performed the region’s first single-incision laparoscopic colectomy. During the single-incision laparoscopic colectomy, doctors can insert specialized tools through a tiny incision in the patient’s belly button, or umbilicus, including a camera and an instrument for cutting and suturing. The cancerous part of the colon is removed through the incision. Benefits to this approach include less pain and reduced recovery time post-operatively.

    For more information on colorectal cancer and how to prevent it, click here. If you would like to learn more about the single-incision laparoscopic colectomy at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, click here.