Laparoscopic surgery for colon cancer rising

THE use of laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancer (CRC) has climbed to around a quarter of elective resections, though views on the need for it are mixed.

The proportion of laparoscopic colon cancer resections increased from 2.4% in 2000–01 to 27.5% in 2007–08, a study has found. Likewise, laparoscopic resections for rectal cancer increased from 1.1% to 21.5%.

CRC laparoscopic surgery was slow to take off due to equipment and training needs as well as concern about whether it conferred an advantage for recurrence and survival compared to open surgery, researchers said. 

“These concerns have subsequently been allayed,” they wrote in the MJA.

Studies indicated laparoscopy offered CRC patients benefits including reduced post-operative pain, a shorter hospital stay and less time to first bowel movement, they said.

However, in an editorial, Associate Professor Ned Abraham, from the University of NSW,