Dr. Cavnar on Surgical Differences Between Right- and Left-Sided Tumors in CRC

Michael J. Cavnar, MD, discusses ​surgical differences between right- and left-sided tumors in colorectal cancer.

Michael J. Cavnar, MD, assistant professor of surgery, University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center, discusses ​surgical differences between right- and left-sided tumors in colorectal cancer (CRC).

Right-sided ​CRC tumors are the easiest to remove surgically​, explains Cavnar. ​Unless the tumor is bulky or advanced, patients who present with a right-sided tumor can likely undergo laparoscopic surgery to remove the tumor, Cavnar says. Moreover, laparoscopic surgery typically requires patients to be hospitalized for 3 to 4 days and the recovery period is usually short. 

Conversely, left-sided tumor ​resections tend to be more complicated​, says Cavnar. Tumors that are located on the upper​-left region of the colon are usually able to ​be remove​d surgically and don’t ​involve a diverting ileostomy. However, neoadjuvant radiation may be required in rectal cancer. Moreover, ​surgical anastomosis has a higher ​risk in this setting and is frequently protected with a diverting ileostomy, which requires an additional surgery to reverse, Cavnar concludes.

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