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Rectal cancer


Rectal cancer is a type of cancer that arises from the lining of the rectum (the last 6 inches of the large intestine). It is the third most common cancer found in both men and women. Most of the rectal cancer arises from the rectal polyps, which are benign growths on the rectal wall.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of rectal cancer is unknown. It most commonly occurs in people after the age of 50. Some of the following risk factors also increase the risk of developing rectal cancer:

  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Having inherited syndrome
  • Lynch syndrome
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP)
  • A family history of adenomatous polyps or colorectal cancer
  • A history of colorectal polyps and inflammatory bowel disease
  • A diet that is rich in red meats raises the risk of developing rectal cancer

Symptoms

Rectal cancer may cause many signs and symptoms that require seeking medical care. But, it may sometimes occur without any symptoms. The following are the symptoms and signs of rectal cancer, we should be aware of:

  • Bleeding or blood mixed with stool
  • Pain in the rectum
  • Change in bowel habits such as diarrhea, smaller stools or excessive amount of gas
  • Prolonged rectal bleeding
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Narrow stools which is a sign of obstruction from rectal cancer
  • A rectal mass which prevents the normal passage of stool
  • Having a sensation that the stool is not completely evacuated
  • Unexplained weight loss

Diagnosis

If rectal cancer is suspected, the doctor may ask you to do the following tests and procedures:

  • Physical Exam
  • Protoscopy
  • Biopsy
  • Digital Rectal Exam: It is performed by doctor using a lubricated finger, which will be inserted into the anus to feel the cancer on the rectal wall.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy: during the procedure the doctor will insert an endoscope through the rectum, which allows viewing the entire rectum including the lining of the rectal wall.
  • Rigid Sigmoidoscopy: In this procedure a surgeon or a gastroenterologist will insert a rigid optical scope through the anus into the rectum. This helps in exact measurement of the tumor from the anus
  • Colonoscopy: During the procedure the doctor inserts an endoscope into the rectum and colon through the anus, which allows to see the abnormalities in the entire colon and rectum

Treatment for Rectal Cancer

For the complete cure of rectal cancer, colorectal surgery is almost always required. Because the risk of coming back is low after surgery. After the removal of tumor, the doctor may suggest adjuvant therapy to decrease the risk of cancer recurring. Patients also require radiotherapy as a part of the treatment before surgery or after surgery. Rectal cancer surgery can be done even if it has spread to others like liver as a part.

Dr Shiva Kumar, who is working as a consultant oncology surgeon in North Bangalore Hospital, is one of the leading oncologist in Bangalore. He holds his expertise in colorectal surgery, breast oncology, uro oncology and gi oncology. He provides the best and advanced treatment for rectal cancer and many more types of cancer with years of experience in treating complex cancer conditions.


Authored By : Dr. Shiva Kumar Uppala

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