Although rectal cancer is most often diagnosed after the age of 50, its incidence is rising in people younger than 40. The physicians at California Colorectal Surgeons assess your risk for rectal cancer and perform screening to prevent the disease. If you’re already diagnosed with rectal cancer, you can count on their extensive experience performing minimally invasive surgery to remove the cancer while sparing the anal sphincter. If you have questions, call the office in Beverly Hills, California, or use online booking to schedule an appointment.
Rectal cancer is like colon cancer in that it most often begins as non-cancerous polyps that develop in the rectal wall, then become cancerous when cells begin to grow abnormally. However, rectal cancer develops in the last 6 inches of the large intestine, which is the rectum.
In most cases, you won’t have any symptoms in the early stages of rectal cancer. As the cancer grows, you may notice a change in your bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea. Your stools may be more narrow than normal or contain blood. In later stages of rectal cancer, you may experience pelvic pain and unexplained weight loss.
You’re more likely to develop rectal cancer as you get older, as most cases are diagnosed over the age of 50. Your chances of rectal cancer also increase if you have a family history of rectal cancer, a personal history of inflammatory bowel disease, or polyps that were previously found in your rectum.
Smoking cigarettes, excessive alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, and obesity are also potential risk factors for rectal cancer.
Rectal cancer is preventable when polyps are detected and removed before they become cancerous. All adults at average risk for rectal cancer should undergo screening around the age of 45 to 50 years.
Although stool-based tests screen for the presence of blood, your doctor will need to perform a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to take a biopsy and diagnose the cause of the bleeding.
Alternatively, you can choose to get a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy without the stool test so that your doctor at California Colorectal Surgeons can visually examine the rectum and remove polyps.
Rectal cancer must be surgically removed, along with lymph nodes, but the surgery is challenging because the rectum resides deep within the bony pelvis and shares the small space with other organs.
Depending on the stage and location of your cancer, your surgery may be done through the anus or the abdomen. You may also undergo chemotherapy before or after your surgery.
When the team at California Colorectal Surgeons performs rectal cancer surgery, they use minimally invasive techniques and sphincter-saving surgery.
Whether you need an exam and diagnosis of your symptoms, or you know you need rectal cancer surgery, call California Colorectal Surgeons or book an appointment online.