What Are Basics of Rectal Cancer?




What is rectal cancer?

Rectal cancer refers to the abnormal cancerous cells in the lower part of the colon that connects the anus to the large bowel.


What are signs and symptoms of rectal cancer?

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • A change in your bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation or more-frequent bowel movements
  • Abdominal pain
  • A feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
  • Dark or red blood in stool
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Mucus in stool
  • Narrow stool
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness or fatigue


What is diagnosis of rectal cancer like?

Your doctor may order the following tests to find a rectal cancer:

  • Fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
  • Guaiac fecal occult blood test
  • Stool DNA test
  • Colonoscopy
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • CT colonography (virtual colonoscopy)


What are treatment options for rectal cancer?

Common treatment options for rectal cancer include:

  • Chemotherapy – It usually consist two or more drugs to target cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often used along with radiation therapy.
  • Radiation therapy – It uses high-powered beams, such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells.
  • Surgery – It can remove the tumor.


What is rectal cancer surgery like?

Surgery is a common treatment for rectal cancer. The type of operation depends on the extent and location of the cancer:

  • If the rectal cancer is located above the anus, you may need a low anterior resection (LAR). This operation allows the patient to keep anal function and pass stools in a normal manner.
  • If the rectal cancer is located close to the anus, you may need an abdominoperineal resection (APR). This operation allows the anus be removed with the cancer.

To learn more you should go to a medical professional.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.