Colorectal cancer

Introduction: preparation for surgery and perioperative optimisation

From Cancer Guidelines Wiki
Clinical practice guidelines for the prevention, early detection and management of colorectal cancer > Introduction: preparation for surgery and perioperative optimisation

Background[edit source]

Most patients diagnosed with colorectal carcinoma will undergo an operation. This may occur soon after diagnosis or may occur after neoadjuvant therapy in the case of rectal carcinoma, or after chemotherapy in patients with metastatic disease.

The decision to operate on an individual patient is based on an assessment of the patient’s cancer burden, but also on patient factors including pre-existing comorbidities and patient’s wishes.

Adequate pre-operative assessment will vary between patients, but in addition to pre-operative cancer staging, it should incorporate blood tests (including anaemia screening, electrolytes and CEA levels)[1][2][3][4] cardiopulmonary testing in selected patients, and referral to specialist services including a perioperative physician if necessary.[5][6]

Patients having elective colorectal cancer surgery should ideally be seen in a pre-admission clinic if available, and/or by an anaesthetist if possible.

A variety of measures and interventions can be used in the perioperative period to improve patient outcomes in the short and long term.

References[edit source]

  1. Harrison LE, Guillem JG, Paty P, Cohen AM. Preoperative carcinoembryonic antigen predicts outcomes in node-negative colon cancer patients: a multivariate analysis of 572 patients. J Am Coll Surg 1997 Jul;185(1):55-9 Available from:
  2. Yang KM, Park IJ, Kim CW, Roh SA, Cho DH, Kim JC. The prognostic significance and treatment modality for elevated pre- and postoperative serum CEA in colorectal cancer patients. Ann Surg Treat Res 2016 Oct;91(4):165-171 Available from:
  3. Kotzé A, Harris A, Baker C, Iqbal T, Lavies N, Richards T, et al. British Committee for Standards in Haematology Guidelines on the Identification and Management of Pre-Operative Anaemia. Br J Haematol 2015 Nov;171(3):322-31 Available from:
  4. Amato A, Pescatori M. Perioperative blood transfusions for the recurrence of colorectal cancer. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2006 Jan 25;(1):CD005033 Available from:
  5. Cheema FN, Abraham NS, Berger DH, Albo D, Taffet GE, Naik AD. Novel approaches to perioperative assessment and intervention may improve long-term outcomes after colorectal cancer resection in older adults. Ann Surg 2011 May;253(5):867-74 Available from:
  6. O'Neill F, Carter E, Pink N, Smith I. Routine preoperative tests for elective surgery: summary of updated NICE guidance. BMJ 2016 Jul 14;354:i3292 Available from:

Back to top