Last reviewed 01/2018

The treatment of left-sided colonic cancer is by surgery, when feasible. The aim is to resect the colon. The patient must be warned of the possibility of a permanent colostomy if the growth is unresectable or resectable and on the left-hand side. A temporary colostomy is sometimes necessary in order to protect an anastomosis made under difficult conditions.

The patient is admitted 2-3 days before the operation in order to prepare the bowel. The colon is cleared of exogenous material using laxatives and/or enemas, and cleansed of infective organisms using broad spectrum, poorly-absorbed antibiotics such as neomycin.

Usually, a left hemicolectomy or a Paul-Mickulicz procedure is performed. If the growth cannot be resected, a Hartmann's procedure is performed and a permanent colostomy created.