Surgical resection at any location in the body leads to stress response with cellular and subcellular change, leading to tissue damage. The intestine is extremely sensitive to surgical stress with consequent postoperative complications. It has been suggested that the increase of reactive oxygen species as subcellular changes plays an important role in this process. This article focuses on the effect of surgical stress on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA from healthy sections of colon and rectum of patients with colorectal cancer. Mitochondrial DNA copy number, mitochondrial common deletion and nuclear and mitochondrial 8-oxo-2'-deoxyguanosine content were measured. Both the colon and rectal tissue were significantly damaged either at the nuclear or mitochondrial level. In particular, mitochondrial DNA was more damaged in rectum than in colon. The present investigation found an association between surgical stress and nuclear and mitochondrial DNA damage, suggesting that surgery may generate an increase in free radicals, which trigger a cascade of molecular changes, including alterations in DNA.