Rectal cancer occurs due to the growth of cancerous cells in the rectum. The colon cancer and rectal cancer are similar, but differs in the treatment. The rectum is located in a tight space and the removal of rectal cancer is challenging and complex. The rectal cancer should be treated by an expertise.
Causes for Rectal Cancer
The rectal cancer occurs when the healthy cells in the rectum develop mutations in their DNA. But, the reasons for mutations are unknown. The cells grow and divide in an even way to keep the functioning of the body normal. When the DNA of a cell is damaged, it becomes cancerous. The cells still continue to divide and when these cells accumulate, it causes tumour.
These cancer cells grow and destroy the tissues nearby. These cancer cells can pass to the other organs and can affect them.
The risk of rectal cancer increases as the people get older.
Signs of Rectal Cancer
The following are the signs of rectal cancer:
- Rectal bleeding
- Change in bowel habits such as diarrhea or constipation or more bowel movements.
- Narrow stool
- Pain in the stomach
- Fatigue or weakness
- Weight loss without any reason
- A feeling that stomach doesn’t empty completely
If you ever experience any signs of rectal cancer, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Treatments for Rectal Cancer
The removal of cancer cells is the best treatment option for rectal cancer. Based on the location and severity of rectal cancer, the surgery is performed through the anus or through the abdomen. Most of the rectal cancer surgeries are performed using laparoscopy, with which the recovery time will be minimal. Some of the commonly performed surgeries for rectal cancer include:
Abdominoperineal resection: Abdominoperineal resection (APR) is performed when the rectal cancer is close to the anal sphincter. During the surgery, the surgeon removes the cancer cells and also the sphincter using laparoscopic technique. After the APR, the stool cannot pass through the anus. For this, a small opening or a stoma is created on the abdominal wall and a bag is attached to the stoma. The stool passes through the stoma and collects in a bag.
Low anterior resection (LAR): Low anterior resection is performed when the cancer is in the upper part of the rectum. The part of the rectum that contains tumour will be removed during the surgery. The rest of the rectum is attached to the colon.
Anterior resection (AR): In anterior resection surgery, a portion or the entire rectum will be removed based on the size of the tumour. Most of the doctors perform AR procedure using laparoscopic technique, in which a few small incisions are made in the abdomen. After the surgery, the doctor connects the healthy ends with stitches.
Transanal total mesorectal excision (TaTME): Transanal total mesorectal excision is a new technique for treating rectal cancer. It is performed for the patients with lower rectal cancer. With the TaTME procedure, the surgeon can view and remove the lower rectal cancer in a better way. The tumour will be completely removed with this procedure and it has all the benefits of laparoscopic procedure. This procedure is beneficial for the patients as the recovery time is minimal and they can return to normal bowel function in a less period of time.