Rectal Cancer PDF Print E-mail

Patients diagnosed with carcinoma of the rectum are currently treated by a multi-modality approach combining surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Following diagnosis by colonoscopy and biopsy, a staging process begins in order to select the best treatment option for any given patient. This process involves a CT scan of the chest, abdomen and pelvis or whole body PET-CT examination. A combined evaluation of rigid rectoscopy and endorectal ultrasound (ERUS) (instruments allowing the surgeon to inspect, measure the tumor penetration, lymph node involvement, and the tumor's distance from the anus) is then performed. This is done as an outpatient procedure at the Surgical Oncology Clinic. In very early tumors or polyps, local excision may be considered in selected patients. In tumors limited to the rectal wall, rectal resection (low anterior resection) with resection of the surrounding lymph nodes (total mesorectal excision, TME) is the treatment of choice without additional radiation or chemotherapy. If the tumor invades through the rectal wall or lymph nodes are involved, a course of combined radiation therapy and chemotherapy is recommended.