While removing the cancer is the primary goal of surgery, maintaining quality of life remains an important consideration. Avoiding a permanent colostomy following colorectal cancer surgery is often possible using sphincter-saving techniques. A variety of techniques such as local excision, preoperative radiation and chemotherapy and reconstruction,-(such as the colonic J-pouch,-) may be used to lessen the likelihood of the need for a permanent colostomy.
For rectal cancers, a technique called Sharp Mesorectal Dissection is performed. This technique allows the exclusion of all cancerous tissue in and around the rectum, but carefully avoids severing the nerves that are involved in sexual and urinary functions, and also reduces local recurrences. Whenever possible, laparoscopic surgery is considered.