Before your surgery

Before your surgery

Before your surgery

It is important to discuss your surgical options, along with details about surgery preparation and recovery, with your surgeon, doctor, and medical team. Some of your surgical options will depend on how much the cancer has spread in your body. Whether you have minimally invasive surgery or open surgery will usually not change the size of the colon or rectum area that the surgeon needs to remove.

Preparation for surgery is similar to the preparation before colonoscopy because the colon must be clean and empty.


Patients should talk to their medical team about regular medications and any changes in preparation for surgery. For example, blood thinning medications should be stopped before surgery because they can increase bleeding during the procedure. Aspirin and aspirin-containing products should be avoided two weeks before surgery. All non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (such as Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, etc.) should be avoided.


It is normal to feel anxious before surgery. Every person experiences anxiety differently. Some of the more common symptoms include a pounding heart, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea, and sleep problems. People also cope with their anxiety in different ways. Most hospitals have dedicated staff members such as counselors, social workers, and volunteers that may offer support. The Alliance also offers patient and family support navigators, who can be reached here. 


Smoking may complicate and slow down your recovery. It is best to stop smoking or use nicotine alternatives as soon as you arrange for your surgery.


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