Surgery is the most common treatment for intestinal cancer. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), experienced surgical oncologists perform surgery to remove tumors and the cancerous portion of the small intestine. In some cases, the following procedures may also be appropriate:
Whipple procedure: Although most often performed as a treatment for pancreatic cancer, this complex surgical procedure is also used to treat cancer in the duodenum (the upper portion of the small intestine). The duodenum is where most small intestine cancers develop.
For the Whipple procedure, the duodenum and part of the pancreas are removed, in addition to the gallbladder, a portion of the stomach, the end of the common bile duct and nearby lymph nodes. Then, the remaining portions of the pancreas, small intestine and bile duct are connected. This allows bile from the liver to continue to drain into the small intestine and enables digestion.
The treatment for intestinal cancer does have potential risks for complications. Patients should seek treatment from surgical oncologists who are experienced in performing this procedure. Surgical oncologists at CTCA® are highly skilled and have performed many of these procedures.
Palliative procedures: In advanced cases of small intestine cancer, surgery to remove the cancer may not be an option because the disease is too widespread. To relieve symptoms such as pain and nausea caused because a tumor is blocking the small intestine, palliative surgery may be performed to help patients feel more comfortable.
For example, if a tumor blocks a passage in the small intestine, surgery can be performed to insert a small tube that bypasses the tumor, creating an opening from the stomach to the other end of the small intestine or to the large intestine. This enables you to continue to eat by normal means and digest food.