Recognizing the Common Causes and Symptoms of Rectal Cancer

What are the Symptoms of Rectal Cancer

In some cases, rectal cancer presents with early symptoms, whereas in other cases, patients do not experience any symptoms until the disease reaches its advanced stages. It is important not to ignore any symptoms that could indicate the presence of a tumor in the rectum.

Being able to recognize the common symptoms of rectal cancer can help catch it in its early stages and receive appropriate treatment.

The following are some common signs and symptoms of rectal cancer:

What are the Causes of Rectal Cancer?

We do not have enough information on the exact causes of rectal cancer. However, we do know that certain lifestyle and non-lifestyle factors can contribute to an increased risk of rectal cancer.

Having these risk factors does not guarantee a rectal cancer diagnosis. It only means that those having these risk factors have a higher chance of developing this condition.

The following are possible causes of rectal cancer:

What are the Differences Between the Symptoms of Rectal Cancer in Men and Women?

The signs of rectal cancer are almost identical among men and women. The presence and absence of symptoms of rectal cancer in males or females and their severity may vary from one patient to another. Also, some rectal tumor symptoms are similar to those of other less serious GI conditions; therefore, it is important to not ignore any GI symptoms and diligently see a doctor for a proper evaluation.

When to See a Doctor?

It is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing rectal tumor symptoms like rectal bleeding, blood in stools, changes in bowel habits, and persistent abdominal pain. Despite looking like the signs and symptoms of rectal cancer, these symptoms could indicate other GI conditions, and therefore, you need to see a doctor for a definitive diagnosis.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are no viruses that have been identified as a specific cause of rectal cancer. However, a few studies show that Human papillomaviruses (HPV16 and HPV18), Human Cytomegalovirus (HCMV), and John Cunningham virus (JCV) are found to increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

Having these viral infections does not necessarily lead to a rectal cancer diagnosis. However, if they are left untreated, they become chronic and may cause cancer by damaging the DNA structure and triggering tumor formation.

No specific bacterial species have been identified as the direct cause of rectal cancer. Nonetheless, some studies have found that chronic Helicobacter pylori infection can increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

Frequent GI ulcers and gastritis are classic symptoms of H. pylori infection, and it is important to receive appropriate treatment to manage the infection effectively.

That said, it is important to note that not everyone with an H. pylori infection will be diagnosed with rectal cancer.

Not genes, but mutations in certain genes can increase one’s rectal cancer risk. Mutations in the APC gene, the MSH2 gene, the MLH1 gene, and the TP53 gene are found to increase rectal cancer risk.

These genes are involved in DNA repair and tumor suppression, and mutations in these genes can disrupt their functions, which will eventually lead to uncontrolled cell division and tumor formation.

Back pain is not a common symptom of rectal cancer, and even if it does occur, it is one of the late symptoms of rectal cancer and could be a sign that it has spread to nearby organs or bones.

Rectal cancer itself does not cause urinary problems. However, if cancer grows and exerts pressure on structures responsible for urinary functions, rectal cancer patients may experience urinary problems.

In most cases, rectal cancer symptoms are persistent and do not go away with medications. However, in rare cases, they may also come and go. Therefore, it is imperative to not ignore any GI-related symptoms and promptly see a doctor for a detailed evaluation.

The rate at which rectal cancer spreads depends on various factors, such as the stage at which the disease is diagnosed, its grade, and the patient’s overall health condition.

In most cases, rectal cancer progresses at a slower rate. That said, it is important to not ignore any symptoms and immediately see a doctor if something is not normal.

Rectal tumor symptoms are almost the same in men and women. However, the intensity of symptoms may vary due to anatomical variations in men and women. Both men and women must be aware of the different signs of rectal cancer, be careful about any symptoms related to the GI tract, and promptly see a doctor if those symptoms do not go away.