Rectal Cancer – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What is Rectal Cancer?

Rectal cancer is a kind of cancer that gets developed in the rectum, that is the last six inches of the large intestine in the human body.

What causes Rectal Cancer?

The development of rectal cancer usually happens over the years, where first it grows as a pre-cancerous growth which is called a polyp. From these, some of the polyps have the ability to get turned into cancer and then begin to grow and finally diffuses into the wall of the rectum.

Rectal Cancer
Rectal Cancer

Below mentioned can be the possible causes of rectal cancer:

  • Increasing age
  • Personal or family history of polyps or colorectal cancer
  • Family history of colon or rectal cancer
  • Smoking
  • High-fat diet or a diet mostly from animal sources

Rectal Cancer Symptoms & Signs

There are no symptoms of rectal  cancer in the early stages. Over several years as the disease progresses, following become some its symptoms:

Rectal Cancer Stages
Rectal Cancer Stages
  • Blood in stool
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain, tenderness, cramping or discomfort
  • Persistent constipation, diarrhea or other bowel changes
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Thinner stools

Colorectal Cancer Diagnosis, Treatments

Diagnosing bowel cancer

If at the time of screening test, the results are suspicious, a colon biopsy is done which can be done during a colonoscopy or even surgically. At the time of a biopsy, a small amount of rectal tissue is removed and then, it is sent to a pathology lab to check for cancer. If cancer is detected, then the stage of rectal cancer is determined by the way of surgery for removing the cancer. At the time of surgery, the surrounding lymph nodes are also tested and might also have to be removed.

Treatment by stage of rectal cancer

Doing a surgery might be the only treatment, in the early stages of rectal cancer wherein various surgical methods can be used for removing cancerous rectal tissue. The choice of the kind of surgery is done on the basis of general health, stage of cancer as well as location. The patients who cannot undergo a surgery, radiation therapy proves to be helpful for them.

Another treatment is Chemotherapy wherein the drugs work in such a manner that they gradually eliminate the renegade cells which are unnecessarily multiplying in a quick manner. It can be done before or after the surgery and even along with the radiation therapy which is another treatment.

rectal cancer treatment

Radiation therapy is the other treatment for rectal cancer which works in a manner that it destroys the DNA of a cancer cell so that it does not multiplies any further. It can be used before the surgery and even at the same time with chemotherapy.

In the country, recently, a rare surgery was conducted, known as Intersphincteric resection (latest technique) on an old-age patient who was suffering from rectum cancer.

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