Bowel cancer treatment and side effects

You can find lots of useful information about bowel cancer treatment on our website. You can also get information and support from our Ask the nurse service.


laparoscopic surgery for a malignant polyp

My operation is due on November 4th. I know it's a major operation and will take a long time to fully recover but I wondered how long it would take for me to be able to walk around the house or go for a car ride ? Wondering how I will be for Christmas, which will be 7weeks after . Of course that's assuming everything goes to plan, the surgeon seemed to think he could do the operation laparoscopically. Feeling so terrified, I'm looking for some positives :) Thanks Guys :)


Hi @Gardener55 I had laparoscopic surgery and I thought it was less of a major op because of this. However, that isn't the case. From my experience, it takes approx 6 weeks to heal without doing anything strenuous. It all depends on you and how you heal, I believe age plays a part and so does infection, unfortunately, I had three. But the best news of all is that they have taken away the cancer and that is in the bin, just where it needs to be!
It is scary but you are in great hands and they will look after you. The more you are prepared for afterwards the better you will be. Keep us posted but I shall be thinking of you on the 4th and sending positive strong vibes for you to kick this horror into touch! :x::x:


@Gardener55 It massively depends on age and fitness (as well as luck in terms of things like infections as @Molly2me says).

I went into it fairly fit and was going for short local walks by about 2 weeks after, feeling fairly ok by about 4 weeks and driving at 6 weeks (probably could have done this earlier but didn't need to). You have to be careful with lifting and putting any strain on your core muscles for quite a while, though (so get someone else to get the turkey in and out of the oven...). Still get very stiff on long car journeys but think that's a chemo hangover.

Good luck! You can do it :x:


@Gardener55 you’ve had some good advice above. Just for reference I had open surgery with hysterectomy and illeostomy on 11 November. I cooked Christmas dinner that year just as normal and two days after beginning chemo. In between I made sure I rested when I needed to and after couple or three weeks was doing short walks around the garden. I didn’t drive for six weeks just in case. Your body will advise you so listen to what it needs. I was told
For the first few weeks to lift nothing heavier than a kettle. Just remember there’s more healing inside than outside and sometimes it’s easy to forget this. Wishing you well for surgery and good recovery in time for Santa. :x::x:


Hi @Gardener55 laparoscopic surgery means faster recovery than open surgery. But as said above, recovery depends on your level of fitness and the absence of complications. Pre op exercise can only be beneficial. A higher intake of protein before and after surgery will help with your recovery. You also have to be mindful of not lifting anything heavy (or pushing/pulling) for at least 6 weeks after surgery. This is mainly to avoid hernia.
Being active, movement (walking around the house, etc) is recommended.
Wishing you the best, you’ve got this :x::x:


I had laparoscopic surgery and didn’t really need analgesia after the first week. By 4weeks felt back to normal and then was out and about. Like others said I didn’t drive for 6 weeks.
I think being as fit as possible prior to surgery was the best thing I did. Went to the gym and walked everywhere. It was great for my mental health too as it was actually one thing I could control.
Good luck I’m sure you will be fine :x:


@Gardener55 , please don’t be terrified. I had same surgery in July and by 7 weeks had made a good recovery. I found bowel control to be the major issue afterwards. The bowel needs to adapt after surgery and it can take time. I was in hospital for 3 nights and did not need much pain relief. Keyhole surgery is still a shock to the system as others have said. I was surprised to wake up with 6 small keyhole scars, not just the one. It’s entirely standard procedure but no one really explained that to me beforehand. It’s 3 months since my surgery now and despite going through chemo, my body has recovered well from the op. Good luck and feel free to ask more questions.


Thank you everyone 😊 I’m trying hard to contain my anxiety, please think of me on the 4th November. I’ll let you know how everything went :x::x:


Good morning @Gardener55,

Great to hear your surgery is very soon! With what you've mentioned surgery wise, I'm sure you'll be able to move around the house once you're discharged from hospital and also sit in a car (but not drive) you'll be able to potter one the kitchen etc. and hopefully write your Christmas cards and do online shopping!! Great excuse! Just don't be doing any gardening but it's always so cold dark and miserable at that time of year, you can be forgiven for leaving that until 2022! I remember recovery is around 6 weeks and I'm certain you'll notice little improvements every day! Sometimes keeping a diary of your progress is helpful?

Keep us posted if you can?

Sending lots of good wishes and love,

Karen 💚💜💛❤️💙


I had a right hemicolectomy on 23 September. I am 65 and suffer with atrial fibrillation. I have been out doing short walks. Listen to your body, some afternoons have needed a rest, but other days have been fine. Have been preparing meals and washing up. Just taking things gently. Came off all painkillers after just over a week and in hospital for four nights. Only one setback my scar became inflamed and put on antibiotics last week. Hope all goes well.