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Rectal Cancer

Cancer is a word that most of us fear. To ease the anguish felt with the diagnosis of rectal cancer, finding a qualified and trusted colorectal surgeon is critical. Dr. Chad Lewis at O & W Surgical in Canyon, Texas has over twenty years of experience in the field of colorectal disease and surgery. Having a true specialist will give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Cancer treatment has come a long way and many rectal cancers can be treated effectively. Dr. Lewis will work with you to determine what treatment plan is best for you.

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What is Rectal Cancer?

Rectal cancer is caused by malignant cells that begin in the rectum, which is the last portion of the large intestine. The cancer cells grow out of control and mutate. Cancerous growths most often develop as a growth (polyp) in the lining, on the inner wall of the rectum. Polyps can be removed or a biopsy taken during a colonoscopy and suspicious-looking tissue samples can be taken from the rectum.

Most rectal cancers begin with a polyp. This type of cancer is known as rectal adenocarcinoma. To identify the stage of the cancer, several procedures can be utilized. Laboratory/blood tests, biopsy, colonoscopy, ultrasound, CT and/or MRI.

What are the Symptoms of Rectal Canccer?

In the early stages, it is common to show no symptoms at all. Changes in bowel movements may be the first signs, as well as rectal bleeding. Other symptoms include:

  • Weight Loss

  • Abdominal pain

  • Bloating

  • The sensation that you cannot empty your bowels

  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)

  • Blood in stool

  • Diarrhea and/or constipation

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How is Rectal Cancer Diagnosed?

As we stated above, the key to a positive outcome is early detection. Having regular colonoscopies is the most common procedure for an early diagnosis. Your primary physician will advise you on how often you should have one.

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Surgery for Rectal Cancer

The standard of care for rectal cancer is usually surgery, from minor polyp removal during a colonoscopy to a more intrusive procedure for cancer that has progressed. The type of surgery also depends on the size and location of the cancer.

Early-stage and small cancers are removed using a transanal endoscopic microsurgery procedure. With this procedure, the physician will remove the cancer as well as a minimal margin of healthy tissue surrounding it.

In cases where the cancer has progressed, procedures will be performed to remove the cancer. Part, most or all of the rectum and anus may need to be removed.

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