We are all familiar with the word cancer. It is a dangerous and life-threatening disease. Being diagnosed with cancer can take a physical and mental toll on you.
Rectal cancer is commonly found in men, and it is vital to seek treatment as soon as you start seeing any symptoms because it can be prevented if detected earlier.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak discusses rectal cancer, its symptoms, and treatments in this article.
What is Rectal Cancer?
When cancer cells develop in the rectum, it is called rectal cancer. The rectum is a chamber located between your colon and anus.
Rectal cancer affects both males and females. However, males are more prone to developing it. People diagnosed with rectal cancer are generally over 50, but it can also develop in young adults and teenagers.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak is an oncologist who provides rectal cancer treatment in Bangalore and has years of experience treating people with rectal cancer.
According to Dr. Nayak, the symptoms of rectal cancer can include:
- Rectal bleeding
- Changes in bowel habits, like diarrhea, constipation, or more frequent bowel movements
- Blood in stool
- Narrow stool
- Feeling that your bowel doesn’t empty completely
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss without trying
- Fatigue or weakness
The exact cause of rectal cancer is not known. However, some things can increase your chances of getting rectal cancer, says Dr. Nayak.
- Age: The risks of rectal cancer can increase with age.
- Gender: Men are more prone to rectal cancer than women.
- Genetics: If anyone in your family has rectal cancer, you might also risk developing it.
- Smoking: If you smoke a lot, it might increase your risk of developing rectal cancer.
- Consumption of processed meat: Eating plenty of processed meat can increase your chances of rectal cancer.
If your doctor thinks that you might have rectal cancer, they might tell you to get some tests done:
- Colonoscopy: In this test, your doctor will use a tiny camera attached to a long tube to look at the inside of your colon and rectum.
- Biopsy: Your doctor will take a sample of the tissue they think is cancer and send it to a lab for testing.
- CT scan: It is a screening test-taking X-rays and stitching together a view of your organs, tissues, and bones.
- MRI: MRI uses magnets and radio waves to capture images of the inside of your body.
- PET scan: Before a PET scan, your doctor will ask you to drink a dye containing radioactive tracers. The dye will highlight areas of the disease. It could also be injected into your body.
Your rectal cancer treatment will depend on different factors like cancer’s location, stage, and size. The treatment options are:
Surgery for rectal cancer will remove the cancer cells. Some of the surgical options are:
- Transanal endoscopic microsurgery: During this operation, your surgeon will use a scope inserted through your anus to remove tiny malignant tumors from your rectum. The treatment is beneficial if your tumor is tiny and has not or will not spread to other parts of your body.
- Low anterior resection: If your rectal cancer is larger, you might require partial or total removal of the rectum.
- Abdominoperineal resection (APR): If rectal cancer is found close to the anus, the muscles controlling your bowel motions may be harmed while removing cancer. Your surgeon may remove the rectum, anus, and a portion of the colon in such instances. Your surgeon will make an opening in your abdomen during the colostomy operation. The end of the colon is sewn back to this opening. The surgeon will then perform a colostomy to allow waste to exit your body.
When your waste exits your body, it is collected in a bag attached to the entrance
Your doctor will advise you to get chemotherapy before the surgery to shrink the cancerous tumors, or your doctor will recommend you to get it after the surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells.
Radiation therapy uses intense beams of energy to kill the cancer cells or to stop them from dividing or growing. Radiation therapy can also be used combined with chemotherapy.
This process uses medications for boosting your immune system and enabling your body to attack the cancer cells.
Targeted therapy is generally used for patients with advanced rectal cancer. Your doctor will advise you to get targeted therapy with the combination of chemotherapy. This treatment will target specific abnormalities in the cancer cells and kill them. Dr. Nayak provides all these rectal cancer treatments in Bangalore.
According to Dr. Nayak, some of the factors increasing the risk of rectal cancer are:
- Age: Rectal cancer can be diagnosed at any age, but most people getting this cancer are older than 50.
- Family history: If anyone in your immediate family has been diagnosed with rectal cancer, it can increase your risk of getting rectal cancer.
- Radiation Therapy: If you have had radiation treatment to the abdomen in the past, it can increase the risk of rectal cancer.
According to Dr. Nayak, it is not possible to prevent rectal cancer altogether, but you can try to minimize the risk by doing the following:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Regular exercises
- Avoid the consumption of alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Get a balanced and healthy diet.
Rectal cancer can be treated if it is diagnosed in the early stages. If you see any symptoms, you should seek treatment as soon as possible. It would help if you also tried to avoid things that can increase your risk for rectal cancer. You can visit Dr. Sandeep Nayak, who provides rectal cancer treatment in Bangalore, for further information.