The causes of the diseases affecting the colorectal region are increasingly unhealthy lifestyles: an unregulated diet, sedentary lifestyle, extra weight, smoking and alcohol; in other cases, the risk is linked to hereditary factors.

Professor Antonino Spinelli, Head of Colon and Breast Surgery at Humanitas, spoke about colorectal pathologies and the advantages of minimally invasive surgery in an interview with Tg2 Medicina 33.

“There are three major areas of pathology: the first, the best known, is represented by cancer of the colon and rectum, another large group is inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) and finally diverticular disease.


Colorectal cancer

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in the West in terms of incidence and mortality. In Italy every year 40 thousand women are affected, while men are highly affected at about 70 thousand.

“While traditionally the age groups most affected were those over 60, recent studies have increasingly shown that people under 40 are at risk from the age of youth. This is linked to the spread of incorrect lifestyles, both in terms of diet and physical movement,” explains Prof. Spinelli.


The minimally invasive approach

Today, less and less traditional surgery is used: “All patients who need to undergo colorectal surgery can be considered for a minimally invasive approach. The exact analysis of the specific case, based on the pathology, the coexistence of factors that may be related to the patient’s history, past interventions and the specific characteristics of the lesion to be removed in case of cancer, will make a determination whether the most appropriate approach is minimally invasive or traditional.

Minimizing surgical trauma, which means reducing the possibility of complications, the length of hospitalization and consequently the fears a patient faces before a major operation,” the professor explains.