Rectal cancer is a malignant tumor that arises from the inner wall of the rectum. Local recurrence of rectal cancer is common after standard surgery and is often fatal. It is difficult to cure, and the associated symptoms are devastating. Accordingly, preventing local recurrence is one of the main treatment goals with rectal cancer.
- Blood mixed with stool
- Prolonged rectal bleeding (perhaps in small quantities that is not seen in the stool)
- A rectal mass may grow so large that it prevents the normal passage of stool.
- A person with rectal cancer may have a feeling that the stool cannot be completely evacuated after a bowel movement.
- Weight loss: Unexplained weight loss requires a medical evaluation.
The actual cause of rectal cancer is unclear. Rectal cancer usually develops over several years, first growing as a precancerous growth called a polyp. Some polyps have the ability to turn into cancer and begin to grow and penetrate the wall of the rectum.
These are the risk factors for developing rectal cancer:
- Increasing age
- Family history of colon or rectal cancer
- High-fat diet and/or a diet mostly from animal sources
- Personal or family history of polyps or colorectal cancer
The rectal cancer may spread to other organs, thus causing a fatal outcome.
- Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
- Stop smoking.
- Exercise most days of the week.
- Maintain a healthy weight.