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Colon Cancer Can Cause Blockage

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Colon Cancer Can Cause Blockage

When cancer blocks the colon, it usually happens slowly and the person can become very sick over time. Patients develop constipation and cramp like abdominal pain. The pain can be severe and if the blockage persists then the colon can become full of air and stools and blow up just like a balloon. When this happens, the stools can spread all over the peritoneal cavity and cause a very lethal condition called fecal peritonitis. All efforts are therefore made to prevent the occurrence of complete blockage.

In cases where blockage does occur, we attempt to relieve the blockage before it becomes complete or causes perforation. In these cases a stent may be placed before surgery is done. A stent is a hollow expandable metal tube that the doctor can put inside the colon and through the small opening using a colonoscope. This tube keeps the colon open and relieves the blockage to help you prepare for surgery.

If a stent can’t be placed in a blocked colon or if the tumor has caused a hole in the colon, surgery may be needed right away. This usually is the same type of colectomy that’s done to remove the cancer, but instead of reconnecting the ends of the colon, the top end of the colon is attached to an opening (called a stoma) made in the skin of the abdomen. Stool then comes out of this opening. This is called a colostomy and is usually only needed for a short time. Sometimes the end of the small intestine (the ileum) instead of the colon is connected to a stoma in the skin. This is called an ileostomy. Either way, a bag sticks to the skin around the stoma to hold the stool.

Once the patient is healthier, another operation (known as a colostomy reversal or ileostomy reversal) can be done to put the ends of the colon back together or to attach the ileum to the colon. It might take anywhere from 2 to 6 months after the ostomy was first made for this reversal surgery to be done due to healing times or even the need to treat with chemotherapy. Sometimes, if a tumor can’t be removed or a stent placed, the colostomy or ileostomy may need to be permanent.

Khawaja Azimuddin M.D. & Tal Raphaeli M.D. & Jean Knapps M.D.

1125 Cypress Station Dr, Suite G, Houston TX 77090

Tel: 281-583 1300 Fax: 281-583 1303

Houston Colon & Rectal surgery PA

The Hemorrhoid Center

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.