Rectal Cancer - What is Rectal cancer & Types of Rectal cancer

What is Rectal Cancer?

When the cells present in the rectum divide uncontrollably and form a tumor, it is referred to as rectal cancer or rectal carcinoma. The rectum forms the last few inches of the gastrointestinal tract.

Rectal cancer often starts with the growth of abnormal masses called polyps. Over time, these polyps become cancerous and lead to rectal cancer.

Whom Does Rectal Cancer Affect?

Rectal cancer is seen in both men and women, and its risk increases with age. Rectal cancer is commonly diagnosed among individuals who are 50 and older. Those with a positive family history of rectal cancer also have a higher chance of developing it. Lastly, in a few cases of rectal cancer, individuals have an inherited predisposition caused by certain genetic disorders.

How Common is Rectal Cancer?

Rectal cancer is one of the top ten common cancers globally. Nonetheless, its prevalence is relatively low in India.

A few reports in recent times have shown that the incidence of rectal carcinoma is increasing gradually, and the possible reasons for this include changed food habits, a sedentary lifestyle, and screening practices.

What is the Difference Between Rectal Cancer and Colorectal Cancer?

Rectal cancer and colorectal cancer are terms that are often used interchangeably. However, there is a slight difference between the two. Rectal cancer refers to the cancer of the rectum only, and colorectal cancer refers to the cancer of the colon and rectum, which are the parts of the large intestine.

Different Types of Rectal Cancer

Rectal cancer is classified into different types, based on the cell from which it originates. These rectal cancer types may present at both early and advanced stages, and their symptoms may vary depending on their type. The following are the various types of rectal cancer:

Rectal Cancer Staging

Rectal cancer staging is done to determine the progression of the disease. The rate at which rectal cancer progresses depends on its type – some rectal cancer types progress more rapidly, while others have a slower growth rate. Rectal cancer staging will also help doctors make better treatment decisions. The following are the different stages of rectal cancer.

When to See a Doctor?

Those experiencing persistent symptoms related to rectal cancer, especially rectal bleeding, changed bowel habits, abdominal pain, and unintended weight loss, should consult a doctor for a proper evaluation. Also, those with a family history of rectal carcinoma should consider regular screening. This can help in the early detection and timely treatment of rectal carcinoma.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to understanding rectal cancer meaning, it refers to the formation of a cancerous mass in the rectum due to uncontrolled division. Rectal carcinoma can occur for various reasons. Unhealthy food habits, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and inherited predisposition due to certain inherited genetic diseases are a few risk factors that can increase one’s risk of developing rectal cancer.

Yes. Pain is one of the symptoms of rectal cancer. However, not all patients with rectal cancer experience pain. The presence or absence of pain depends on the stage, type, and exact location of rectal cancer.

Adenocarcinoma, which forms in the glandular cells of the rectum’s inner wall, accounts for over 95% of rectal cancer cases; this makes it the most common type of rectal cancer.

The final stage of rectal cancer, or stage 4 rectal cancer, is when the disease has metastasized or spread to distant body parts. It is also called advanced-stage rectal cancer. Post rectal cancer staging, final-stage rectal carcinoma demands multimodal and complex treatment regimens, and the treatments administered will largely focus on delaying the progression of the disease and prolonging survival.

Anal cancer refers to cancer that forms in the anal tissue. Rectal cancer, on the other hand, refers to the formation of cancerous growths in the rectum.

The rectum and anus are the last two parts of the gastrointestinal tract and are connected by a sphincter muscle, which controls bowel movements.

When one looks for rectal cancer meaning and its signs on the internet, rectal bleeding is one of the first signs they come across.

We do not have clear-cut information on the exact percentage of rectal bleeding that indicates rectal cancer. Also, some rectal carcinoma patients may not experience any rectal bleeding at all. Lastly, it is important to note that rectal bleeding is caused by other less serious health conditions like hemorrhoids and anal fissures.

Therefore, when there is rectal bleeding, it is important to see a doctor for a proper evaluation without delaying further.

Yes, it is possible to treat rectal cancer. The treatment choice, however, depends on a myriad of factors, namely the rectal cancer type, its stage, its grade, the exact location, and the patient’s overall condition. Commonly recommended treatment options for rectal cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy.