Each year in the US, more than 44,000 patients are diagnosed with rectal cancer. When detected early through a routine colonoscopy screening, it is treatable. At ACE Clinic, we can partner with you to recommend your best treatment options.
Rectal cancer occurs when cancerous cells grow in the rectum, or the part of the digestive tract between the colon and the anus. It can be screened through colonoscopy which checks for small growths called polyps. Polyps can become cancerous therefore it’s important to be screened regularly.
In some cases, you may not experience any symptoms of rectal cancer. However, some people experience symptoms like:
- Bleeding or blood in your stool
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Narrow stool
- Abdominal pain
- Sudden weight loss or change in bowel habits
The exact cause of rectal cancer is unknown. But there are certain risk factors that increase the chance of developing this disease. These risk factors include
- Age: 90 percent of patients with colorectal cancer are diagnosed at 50 and older, therefore it is important to undergo screening colonoscopy starting at 45.
- Presence of Polyps: most polyps are benign, but some can progress to become cancerous, removal of polyps during colonoscopy reduces this risk.
- Family history of colon cancer: First degree relatives of patients with colon or rectal cancer are more likely to develop this disease.
- Genetics: Certain genetic conditions such as HNPCC and FAP significantly increase risk of colorectal cancer during a patient’s lifetime.
- Inflammatory Bowel disease: Both Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease cause chronic inflammation of the colon and rectum that can increase risk of developing cancer.
After confirming the diagnosis through biopsy of the tumor, your doctor will perform additional tests to determine the stage of the disease. Your surgeon will discuss all available treatment options with you based on the stage of the disease.
Rectal cancer is treatable when it’s caught early. For this reason, it’s important to undergo regular colonoscopy screenings when you turn 45 (or earlier, depending on your risk factors). Additionally, you can take steps to prevent rectal cancer by leading a healthy and active lifestyle, eating a well-balanced diet high in fiber, and stopping smoking as soon as possible. Our team of colorectal experts is always here to answer your questions and help you achieve a healthy outlook despite a rectal cancer diagnosis.
Rectal cancer can seem scary, but your first step is partnering with a knowledgeable physician. To meet with our team and learn more about your options, we invite you to contact our office by calling or filling out our online form
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Please do not hesitate to call us at 602-844-5157 or fill out our online form if you have a question, or would like to schedule an appointment.