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Why is so much of the colon removed when treating colon cancer?

The amount of colon and/or rectum that is removed during cancer surgery depends on the location and size of the tumor. It is important to remove enough colon and/or rectum to have negative margins (the tumor is completely removed). Think of a picture in a picture frame—if the picture is the tumor, the matting around the picture represents the margins.

When treating colon cancer, doctors need to have a margin of tissue beyond the cancer. The spread of tumor cells requires taking a large section of colon.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.