April 1st 2001
In their article, Drs. Wagman and Minsky provide an excellent overview of the current status of local treatment strategies for early rectal cancer. They have rightly pointed out that while minimal surgery is an attractive option, it must be balanced against the highly curable outcomes of radical surgical resection. Expanded experience with stapling devices has extended the level at which safe and satisfactory anastomoses can be accomplished in the distal rectum. The promise of enhanced preservation of rectal, urinary, and sexual functions makes local treatment strategies an attractive option. The most important aspect of disease management using this approach remains the process of patient selection.