Cancer of the rectum is a type of cancer that forms in the cells in the last 15 cm of the large intestine. It has similar symptoms to colon cancer, but rectal cancer may require more specialized treatment than other colon cancers.
The most common symptoms of rectal cancer include constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas, bloody stools, weight loss and fatigue. Some people may have no symptoms at all, so regular screenings are important.
Risk factors for rectal cancer include old age, genetic predisposition, smoking, poor diet, high fat and physical inactivity.
Rectal cancer is a type of cancer that starts in cells in the rectum, below the sigmoid colon and above the anus. Symptoms of rectal cancer are diarrhea, constipation, or blood in your stool. Treatments are varied as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Early diagnosis of rectal cancer is extremely important.
The rectum is an organ that is an important part of the digestive system in the human body. The digestive system takes vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, protein nutrients and undertakes the task of removing waste materials from the body.
In this article, we will mention the causes of rectum cancer and symptoms of rectum cancer in the first part. You can read about rectum cancer treatmen options and a comparation of rectum cancer and colon cancer. In the final part, we will talk about how to live with rectum cancer.
Causes of Rectum Cancer
The exact cause of rectal cancer is unknown. Some risk factors have been identified over the years. Some of the risk factors can be lined up as below:
- Gender: It is known that the risk of developing rectal cancer is higher in men than in women. Men are slightly more likely to develop rectal cancer than women.
- Family past: If you have a family member diagnosed with rectal cancer, your chances of developing it are nearly doubled.
- Age: One reality we see with most cancer types is that the risk increases with age. It can be said that after the age of 60, it is much more risky for women and men.
- Obesity: Those with obesity problems have a higher risk of developing rectal cancer than those of average weight.
Symptoms of Rectum Cancer
The most common symptom of rectal cancer is bleeding, and its incidence increases in advanced stages. Unexplained fatigue is also among the strong symptoms of rectal cancer. Some of the other symptoms of rectum cancer can be lined up as below:
- Feeling that your bowel is not completely empty
- If you are losing weight without dieting
- If you feel pain, when you have bowel movement
- Another symptom is that you notice changes in the frequency of your bowel movements.
- If you have diarrhea or constipation
- If you experience gas, cramps, pain, etc. more often than before
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is recommended that you consult your healthcare provider immediately. The underlying cause of these symptoms may be different, but remember that early diagnosis is very important in the management of rectal cancer.
Rectum Cancer Treatment Options
Combinations are often used in the treatment of rectal cancer. Some of the treatment options for rectum cancer can be lined up as below:
- Surgery: Rectal cancer is treated with surgical proceduresbased on factors such as cancer stage, location, and aggressiveness. Options include removing small cancers from the rectum, resecting all or part of the rectum, or performing an abdominoperineal resection. You should talk to your surgeon about the details before the surgery. All these treatments prevent metastasis if cancer detected at early stages.
- Radiation therapy: Powerful energy sources like X-rays and protons target and destroy cancer cells. Combined with chemotherapy, it can be used before or after surgery to kill remaining cells or relieve pain.
- Chemotheraphy: Drugs are used after surgery to eliminate any remaining cancer cells or combined with radiation therapy to shrink tumor before surgery. It can also alleviate symptoms in unresectable or metastatic rectal cancer.
- Targated drug therapy: Focuses on specific cancer cell abnormalities to induce cell death. Often combined with chemotherapy for advanced rectal cancer patients.
- Combination of radiation and chemotherapy: Enhances radiation's effectiveness in larger or high-risk cancers. Administered before surgery to facilitate less invasive procedures or after surgery to reduce recurrence risk. It can also be used as a primary treatment for advanced cases.
If you like to learn more about treatment options for rectum cancer at Ekol International Hospitals oncology clinic, please do not hesitate to concact with our patient help service.
Rectum Cancer vs. Colon Cancer: Key Differences and Similarities
There are some differences and similatiretis between rectum cancer and colon cancer. The colon and rectum are both located in the large intestine. However, they have different bodily functions. The colon absorbs water from the stool and transmits the stool to the rectum. Some of these differences and simularities can be lined up as below:
- Although colon cancer can start anywhere in the colon, rectal cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the rectum, which is down the colon.
- Some symptoms both cancers are same or simular: The presence of blood in the stool and bowel habits are among the symptoms of both colon cancer and rectal cancer.
- Colon cancer and rectal cancer can develop from colon polyps. These polyps can turn into tumors later.
Living with Rectum Cancer
Living with cancer may not be easy. However, appropriate support and care can be obtained to achieve a good standard of living. Some of the tips for living with rectum cancer can be lined up as below:
- Healthy Lifestyle: Combining regular exercise with a healthy diet is key for this. Avoiding tobacco and alcohol can play an important role in reducing side effects.
- Emotional Support: Emotional support from your family, friends or support groups will greatly increase your ability to fight the disease. Sharing feelings and thoughts can reduce your stress.
- Treatment Management: Communicating well with your doctor and other healthcare professionals and following medication schedules will help you feel the effects of the disease much less.