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Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

Surgeons Use Robots to Tackle Colon Cancer
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Surgeons at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital (SJMH) are now using the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System® to treat colorectal cancer, adding another specialty to the hospital’s extensive robotics program. St. Joe surgeons are the first in the area to launch a comprehensive da Vinci robotics program for colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer — cancer of the colon or rectum — is the third most common form of cancer for both men and women. Each year in the United States, more than 150,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Typically, colorectal cancer forms in the lining of the intestinal wall and may spread to lymph nodes or other organs over time.

“Traditionally, surgery is the main treatment for colorectal cancer,” explains Dr. Robert Cleary, lead physician at SJMH for da Vinci surgery for colorectal cancer. “The procedure calls for surgical removal of a segment of the colon or rectum through a large incision in the abdomen, which may extend from the pubic bone to just below the sternum. da Vinci allows us to do this same procedure but without the large, open incision.”

da Vinci Surgery uses state-of-the-art technology to help a surgeon perform a more precise operation than conventional surgery allows. For most patients, daVinci surgery offers numerous benefits over open surgery including better clinical outcomes for cancer control in many cases, quicker return to bowel function, quicker return to normal diet, significantly less pain, less blood loss, less risk of wound infection, shorter hospital stay and shorter recovery time.

"This is an excellent option for patients facing major surgery for colon and rectal cancer. While this procedure is not for everyone, it’s another option for our patients. We are happy to provide this advanced alternative in patient care at St Joe's,” explains Cleary.

Colorectal cancer symptoms may include: blood present with stool, inability to have a bowel movement, pelvic pain, narrowing of the stool, unexplained weight loss, bloating and persistent chronic fatigue.