By Dr. Sandeep Nayak

The treatment for cancer of rectum (back passage) has been performed by conventional open surgery for years. This has been so essentially for two reasons. Firstly, the lack of irrefutable evidence (though sufficient evidence has been present for years) and secondly for the want of skilled surgeons. The first deficit has now been fulfilled by a large research study.

Incidentally, the recent findings of the long-term oncologic outcomes of the landmark “Colorectal Cancer Laparoscopic or Open Resection (COLOR) II trial” are indeed heartening.

This trial establishes laparoscopic rectal resection as the new standard of care in rectal cancer surgical treatment. The results that were released in the April 2015 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, the most reputed journal of medicine, reveals that laparoscopic resection does not compromise oncologic outcomes and has some palpable advantages in terms of postoperative recovery, and may even provide some oncologic benefit in patients with more advanced disease.

The frontier now shifts towards ensuring that this advantageous technique is available to patients that need it. Lack of skilled cancer surgeons to perform laparoscopic rectal cancer surgery is a problem. However, the onus is now on Individual like me who have been performing and training surgeons to perform minimal access cancer surgeries!

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