(Cancer of the Rectum)
- A change in bowel habits
- Blood, either bright red, or black and tarry, in the stool
- Stools that are narrower than usual
- Diarrhea, constipation, or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
- General abdominal discomfort, such as frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, and/or cramps
- Unexplained weight loss
- Constant feeling of fatigue or tiredness
- Blood tests
- Fecal occult blood test
- Polypectomy and local excision—Early stage removal of the cancer
- Local transanal resection—Removal of the cancer with a margin of surrounding healthy tissue
- Transanal endoscopic microsurgery (TEM)—Removal of the cancer in the rectal wall with surrounding healthy tissue; the hole in the wall is sewn back together
- Low anterior resection—Removal of the cancer, surrounding healthy tissue, and lymph nodes for cancers high in the rectum, closer to the colon
- Proctectomy—Removal of the rectum; this surgery also involves attaching the end of the colon to the anal canal in order to preserve bowel function
- Abdominoperineal resection—Removal of rectum, anal canal, and surrounding tissue
- Pelvic exenteration—Removal of rectum, anal canal, and nearby organs with cancer, such as the prostate, uterus, or bladder
- Blood stem cell support medications
- Anti-nausea medications
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
- CT colonography every 5 years
- Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years
- Stool DNA test every 3 years
- Annual fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
- Annual fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
- African Americans or Native Americans
- History of colon or rectal cancer, or adenomatous polyps
- Strong family history of colon or rectal cancer or polyps
- Family history of hereditary colon or rectal cancer syndromes
- History of chronic inflammatory bowel disease
- If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit
- Drinking alcohol in moderation—no more than 2 drinks a day if you are a man, and no more than 1 drink a day if you are a woman
- Eating a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in red meat
- Being physically active by exercising at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week
- Maintaining a healthy weight
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada http://www.colorectal-cancer.ca
Colorectal cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003096-pdf.pdf. Updated April 28, 2015. Accessed June 11, 2015.
Colorectal cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 22, 2015. Accessed June 11, 2015.
Colorectal cancer screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 19, 2015. Accessed June 11, 2015.
Colorectal cancer screening tests. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/colonandrectumcancer/moreinformation/colonandrectumcancerearlydetection/colorectal-cancer-early-detection-screening-tests-used. Updated February 5, 2015. Accessed June 11, 2015.
General information about rectal cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/rectal/Patient. Updated April 2, 2015. Accessed June 11, 2015.
Rex DK, Johnson DA, et al. American College of Gastroenterology guidelines for colorectal cancer screening 2009. Am J Gastroenterol. 2009;104(3):739-750.
11/19/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php: Kirkegaard H, Johnsen NF, et al. Association of adherence to lifestyle recommendations and risk of colorectal cancer: a prospective Danish cohort study. BMJ. 2010;341:c5504.
4/8/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Yee J, Kim DH, et al. Colorectal cancer screening. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria. Available at: http://www.acr.org/~/media/ACR/Documents/AppCriteria/Diagnostic/ColorectalCancerScreening.pdf. Updated 2013. Accessed June 11, 2015.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 06/2015 -
- Update Date: 05/27/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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