A rectal cancer is a cancer that is developed in the rectum which is the lower part of the colon that connects the large intestine to the anus. It stores the formed stool that needs to be eliminated. Rectal cancer is more likely to develop in men when compared to women. The most common type of rectal cancer is adenocarcinoma, which develops from the glands.
The symptoms of rectal cancer may be similar to bowel diseases, like Crohn's disease. It may even be similar to colon cancer. There are no early signs of cancer, however, when cancer develops, the symptoms become persistent and severe. The severity of the symptoms increases when cancer spreads throughout the rectum and to other parts of the body like the colon. Rectal cancer also changes the frequency of bowel movements. The color of the stool may appear dark if the person experiences bloody stool.
A few symptoms that are mentioned below are:
Every individual is different and therefore these signs and symptoms may vary from one person to another.
Rectal cancer is a slow growing cancer. It first forms as a precancerous growth called the polyp and later forms a tumour. Cancer is caused when a few cells in the rectum develop mutations in the DNA. These mutated cells divide and grow rapidly which lead to the formation of a tumour. The cancerous cells damage the organ and invade, by spreading the disease to the other parts of the body.
The exact cause of the disease is not known, however, a few risk factors are mentioned which increase the risk of developing the disease.
If the person experiences any of the above mentioned symptoms, the doctor recommends a few diagnostic tests to check for the presence of a tumour or any abnormal changes in the rectum. The following diagnostic tests are:
Once the diagnosis confirms the presence of a tumour in the rectum, one or more of the following treatments are performed.
Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses drugs to stop the spread of cancer to other parts of the body and also kills the cancer-causing cells. This medication travels through the body and kills the cancerous cells in the body. These drugs are called as cytotoxic medicines.
Radiotherapy uses radiation beams to kill the cancer-causing cells. It is usually given after the surgery or along with chemotherapy to remove any leftover cancer cells in the body.
Surgery is performed to remove a part of the tissue or the entire organ. The aim of the surgery is to remove cancer from the body.
Immunotherapy is also performed to treat the person suffering from cancer. Vaccines and medications are given to the patient to help the patient get rid of cancer.
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