Rectal Cancer News

Rectal cancer occurs when a malignant tumor grows in the lower part of the large intestine, also called the rectum. Often, cancers that affect both the rectum and the main portion of the large intestine (the colon) are grouped together and referred to as colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in all people, after skin, prostate and lung cancer. Most rectal cancers are adenocarcinomas, meaning they begin in the cells that line the rectum.

Causes and Symptoms of Rectal Cancer

Certain risk factors for rectal cancer cannot be controlled. These include things like family history, old age or the presence of rectal polyps, which are growths on the inner walls of the rectum. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, a poor diet, smoking and a family or personal history of cancer can also increase risk for colorectal cancer.

Rectal cancer often presents few symptoms in its early stages, so the most important tool for fighting it is regular screening by a qualified health care professional. This should begin at about age 50 for most men.


The most common treatment for rectal cancer is surgery to remove a portion of the rectum. Generally, the healthy portions of the rectum and colon will then need to be reconnected. Follow-up treatments are often needed to rid the body of cancer cells in surrounding tissues. This process is accomplished through such treatments as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Biological therapy may be suggested for some with advanced rectal cancer. It involves the injection of an antibody that binds to cancer cells and halts their growth and spread.

SOURCES: American Cancer Society; U.S. National Cancer Institute

Date Posted
Article Title
Oral Sex Plus Smoking a Cancer Danger for Men

Risk of head and neck tumors tied to HPV infection jumps to 15 percent for this group, study finds

High-Cal Foods May Raise Cancer Risk in Women, Even Without Weight Gain

Plant-based diet could help avoid malignancies, study suggests

Scientists Report Progress on Genetic Test for Anal Cancer

But research is still in early stages

Delay a Needed Colonoscopy at Your Own Risk

After a stool test shows potential trouble, speedy follow-up could be key, study finds

4 in 10 U.S. Adults Under 60 Carry HPV

But vaccine should turn the tide against virus that can cause cancer, sexual health expert says

Many Disabled Adults Aren't Screened for Colon Cancer: Study

Transportation issues, lack of awareness and other barriers may be at issue

'Cancer Profile' Is Changing for Americans With HIV

AIDS-linked tumors predicted to decline by 2030

Survival Continues to Improve for Most Cancers

Still, more progress is needed and racial disparities remain, U.S. report finds

Family History of Colon Cancer Calls for Earlier Screening

Talk to your doctor if relatives have had this cancer

Colon Cancer Rates, Deaths Drop in Americans Over 50

Report suggests higher screening rates explain the positive trend

Another Study Ties Obesity to Certain Cancers

Digestive organs may be hardest hit by too much weight, study suggests

Colon Cancer on the Rise Among Gen Xers, Millennials

And an old adversary -- the obesity epidemic -- may be the cause, U.S. researchers say

Heart Risks May Boost Women's Colon Cancer Risk, Too

This was true even in normal-weight women, study suggests

Anal Cancer Rates Rising in Many Parts of the World

HPV vaccine, safe sex practices would help reverse trend, cancer specialists say

Study: Colonoscopy After 75 May Not Be Worth It

But, expert says age shouldn't be only criterion for screening for colon cancer

Cancer Survivors More Prone to Obesity, Study Finds

Risk appears to be particularly high for people who had breast or colon cancer

Colon Cancer Rising in People Under 50

Incidence up more than 10 percent in 10 years among Americans, study finds

Is Ovary Removal Tied to Colon Cancer Risk?

Loss of female hormones may explain potential association, researchers say

Only Half of Rectal Cancer Patients Get Recommended Treatment: Study

Uninsured and minority patients had lower odds of receiving standard therapies, researchers found

Happy Marriage May Prompt Men to Get Colonoscopy: Study

Women encourage healthful behaviors in their husbands, but look to others for advice about their own preventive care

Distance Matters for Quality Rectal Cancer Care

The farther a patient has to travel for radiation therapy, the less likely it will happen, study finds

Elderly With Advanced Colon Cancer Often Get Costly, Dubious Treatments: Study

Drugs come with many side effects, may add only one month to survival, researchers add

Six Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Colon Cancer

Diet, weight and physical activity play a significant role, expert says

Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer May Carry Certain Risks

Chances of secondary cancers increased, but study authors stressed the overall risk was low

Daily Low-Dose Aspirin Linked to Reduced Risk of Certain Cancers

The effect was seen most strongly with colon, gastrointestinal tumors, researchers report

Study Pinpoints Best Timing for Rectal Cancer Surgery

Patients who had procedure 8 weeks after chemo and radiation therapy had best survival rates

Minorities More Likely To Be Diagnosed With Colon Cancer at Younger Age

Researchers say screening guidelines in U.S. should be reviewed

Colon Cancer Among Hispanics Varies by Birthplace

Study found people from Cuba, Puerto Rico have highest death rates from the disease

Less-Invasive Surgery May Not Be Best Option for Rectal Cancer

Two studies found standard surgery was slightly more successful

People in Their 50s Benefit Most From Low-Dose Aspirin, Report Says

Heart-disease preventive may simultaneously reduce colon cancer risk, task force suggests

1 in 3 Colon Cancers in Young People Has Genetic Link

Study authors recommend that people diagnosed before age 35 get tested

Americans' Risk of Dying From Cancer Is Falling, CDC Finds

But, due to aging population, actual number of cancer deaths is rising

The Doctor Who Does Your Colonoscopy Matters

Those with higher polyp detection rates prevent more cancers, save more lives, study says

Genetic Differences Seen in Younger Colon Cancer Patients

New research suggests different treatment may be warranted