In the United States alone, it is estimated that there will be
over 138,000 new cases of colorectal cancer diagnosed and
over 50,000 deaths in 2001. This represents the fourth most
common malignancy and the second leading cause of cancer
death. Surgery remains the mainstay of treatment for
this disease. However, it is limited by tumour stage, location
and biological behavior. Although curable in its early
stages, the ultimate overall survival is no better than 50%.
These numbers have remained relatively constant despite
screening and attempts at earlier diagnosis. Newer advances
in surgical therapy have centered on the management of
rectal carcinoma. Laparoscopic surgical techniques have
been adapted to surgical resection of the colon, however for
malignant processes it still remains investigational.