Rectal cancer is a malignant/cancerous tumor that grows from the inner wall of the rectum. With this condition, preventing occurrence is the best method of treating it, at advanced stages it is difficult to treat it. Rectal cancer is associated with debilitating signs and a recurrence after surgery is common compared to colon cancer.
Rectal cancer Symptoms
In its early stages, one might fail to recognize the presence of rectal cancer. Its signs are mostly related to bowel habit changes. Some of the common, but unnoticed signs include; constipation, Diarrhea, Black or bloody stool and change is size of the stool. As the cells multiply making the tumor grow big, some generalized signs and symptoms may show up. Some of them include;
- paining rectum
- Change in appetite
- Stomach cramps
- Abdominal discomfort
- Unintended weight loss
- Frequent gas pains and
- Feeling bloated.
In case of any other sign that you are not familiar with, then you are advised to inform your doctor for further action.
Rectal cancer Causes
Despite having no record of rectal cancer causes, several research show that some risk factors contribute to its spread. Some of these factors will also increase the chances of a person having the cancerous growth. Some of these factors include;
- individual medical history
- Genetic alterations
- Family medical history
- ulcerative colitis disease
- prolonged cigarette smoking.
In most cases, families who had this condition in the past end up passing it over to the young ones in the lineage. Prolonged smokers are at an elevated risk of getting rectal cancer compared to non-smokers. More than 90% of those diagnosed with the condition are above the age of 50 years.
Rectal cancer Diagnosis
Rectal cancer is mostly found after experiencing some symptoms suggesting its presence. However, you might not experience any signs or symptoms in the early stages of this condition. Upon suggestive signs, it is recommended you seek the help of a doctor who will carry out a diagnostic test on you. Some of the techniques used here include:
- blood tests, colonoscopy test,
- use of lab samples including gene and MSI testing,
- computed tomography,
- ultrasound scan,
- magnetic resonance imaging scan,
- positron emission tomography
- chest x-ray.
Sharing your health history with the doctor will also help him/her determine whether you are suffering from rectal cancer or not.
Rectal cancer Treatment
In most cases, treating rectal cancer will depend on its type and the far it has spread in the victim's body. Some of the common treatment strategies include;
- It is the most common technique doctors apply in removing cancerous growth in the rectum. A surgeon removes the affected part or removes the lymph nodes where the cancer cells easily spread to.
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy
- If the surgery cannot remove all the cancerous cells, then a doctor recommends the use of radiation to shrink and kill the remaining cells.
- These are medicines used to detect cancer cells and specific proteins. Some of them used in treating rectal cancer include; Panitumumab, bevacizumab and cetuximab.