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Rectal Cancer Treatment on the Gulf Coast

Usually developing over a long period, rectal cancer is a common cancer in the United States that affects over 40,000 Americans every year. Growing in the part of the large intestine called the rectum, rectal cancer should be treated immediately. Infirmary Cancer Care in Mobile is equipped with the newest equipment and trained staff that specialize in rectal cancer. Our goal is to provide you the best cancer care possible.

Symptoms & Risks

Rectal cancer has several striking risk factors. These include a diet high in fat, age, family history and a history of polyps in the large intestine. There are also certain genetic conditions, such as Lynch Syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis that make individuals at a greater risk of developing rectal cancer. While having these risk factors does not guarantee that a patient will develop rectal cancer, an individual with these risks should discuss the possibility and preventative steps with their doctor. Preventative treatment and healthy gut health can stop rectal cancer before it gets started.

The symptoms of rectal cancer can vary. However, the most common symptoms include fatigue, anemia, weight loss, stomach pain, bloody stool, narrowed stool, and an unexplained change in bowel habits that includes diarrhea or constipation. The presence of these symptoms should be discussed with your doctor to ensure that an early diagnosis is reached if possible.

Diagnosis & Staging

Your physician will use various methods to diagnose rectal cancer as a cancerous polyp instead of hemorrhoids. While the symptoms of each can be quite similar, physical examinations including a digital rectal exam, colonoscopies and biopsies. All these tests are designed to look for abnormalities in the rectal cavity and, if one is found, to test it for cancer. Rectal cancer is staged like most other cancers on a scale from 0 to 4 depending on how likely the cancer is to metastasize and how much it has affected the rectum. The lower the stage, the better the prognosis usually will be depending upon how your body responds to treatment.

Treatment Options

The treatment options for this type of cancer are varied given the usually contained nature of rectal cancer. Surgery can remove cancer from the rectum and might be the best option for many patients.

Three different types of surgeries are commonly performed for this type of cancer:

  • Polypectomy: removal of a cancerous polyp during colonoscopy.
  • Local excision: scraping cancer off the inside of the rectum as well as surrounding tissue.
  • Resection: completely removing the cancerous section of the rectum as well as lymph nodes near the area.

If surgery is not enough, chemotherapy, radiation and clinical trials might all be attempted either separately or in tandem to supplement the surgical procedure. Chemotherapy can stop cancer from spreading to other parts of the rectum or at least ensure that all the cancer has been killed if it was not removed by the surgery. Radiation also helps kill cancer while it sits in the rectum. Another option for those with rectal cancer is several clinical trials focusing on molecular and neoadjuvant therapy that could help. More information about these trials can be found here and here.

Overall, your treatment strategy will be made through in-depth discussion with our treatment team here at Infirmary Cancer Care headed up by the expert that has been assigned to your case. Through mutual input, the right treatment plan for the patient is put together and activated.

For more information about how to prevent or treat rectal cancer, contact us today.

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