Rectal cancer is a form of the disease that’s preventable if you undergo regular screening tests. If you’re at risk of developing rectal cancer or you want to make an informed decision about screening, the highly experienced team of oncologists at Wellness Oncology & Hematology in West Hills and Tarzana, California, can help. Their specialist physicians have considerable expertise in screening for rectal cancer as well as being able to treat the condition when it’s at a more advanced stage. Call today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
Rectal cancer is a condition affecting the rectum, which is the last part of your large intestine or colon. Colon cancer is closely related to rectal cancer, and they’re often referred to collectively as colorectal cancer. However, while they share many similarities, colon and rectal cancers require different treatments.
Rectal cancer develops when cells in your rectum mutate and their DNA changes. These abnormal cells continue to multiply, forming a tumor and eventually spreading to other tissues and organs.
The reasons why rectal cancer develops isn’t always clear, but there are genetic conditions, called hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC, or Lynch syndrome) and familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), that can cause rectal cancer. If you have a family history of these conditions, it’s worth having a genetic test to see if you’re affected.
There are also risk factors that make your chances of developing rectal cancer higher, including:
Colorectal cancer rates are higher in people whose diets are high in red meat and low in vegetables.
Common symptoms of rectal cancer include:
You might also have the feeling that your rectum isn’t empty after a bowel movement.
Prevention is the best defense against rectal cancer, and the most effective form of prevention is to have a colonoscopy. During this screening, your surgeon at Wellness Oncology and Hematology passes a slim, flexible tube called a colonoscope into your rectum, which sends back images of the inside of your colon and rectum to a monitor.
Using these images, your surgeon can identify and remove any polyps, which are small, mainly benign growths. Rectal cancer typically develops when one of these polyps turns cancerous, so removing them prevents cancer from taking hold.
Treating rectal cancer might involve a combination of approaches. Patients have surgery to remove cancer wherever possible, along with chemotherapy, which kills cancer cells using drugs, and radiation therapy, which kills cancer cells using X-rays or protons.
At Wellness Oncology & Hematology, Dr. Shaye, Dr. Lashkari, and Dr. Ho oversee the successful treatment of rectal cancer with particular attention to your overall wellness. Call today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.