Is laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery the best option for colorectal cancer treatment?

The best, and usually only, chance of cure for colorectal cancer is surgery. Minimally invasive (keyhole) surgery includes laparoscopic and robotic surgery techniques, which are beneficial for patients in terms of faster recovery after the operation. There remains a particular fear that such minimally invasive surgical options may not be as good as conventional open surgery for cancer removal.

There is now sufficient scientific evidence to support minimally invasive surgery for cancer, especially colorectal cancer. That means that the outcomes/survival of patients are similar if the surgery is performed with a large incision or through keyhole incisions. Less pain and faster discharge with a quicker return to routine activity are additional advantages of keyhole surgery. Having said this, there are still certain colorectal cancers that even the most adapted laparoscopic cancer surgeons would still prefer to perform using conventional techniques. This can be left to the discretion of the treating oncologist.

In short, the vast majority of patients need not fear laparoscopic surgery for colorectal cancers and will fare better and heal sooner with this technique. The opinion of the treating surgeon should be respected, and the treating oncologist can efficiently deal with any concerns.