Rectal cancer symptoms

Around thirty percent of all the colorectal cancer cases diagnosed each year are diagnosed with rectal cancer. Similar to colon cancer, the treatment and prognosis of rectal cancer will depend on the stage of the cancer, namely how deeply it has invaded the surrounding area and lymph nodes.

Usually rectal cancer develops over the span of several years, the first possible rectal cancer symptoms being polyps, which are a form of precancerous growth. They are considered possible symptoms because some polyps might begin to grow and turn into cancer.

Unfortunately, the cause of rectal cancer is still unknown, but there are a series of risk factors associated with an increase in the chances of getting rectal cancer such as smoking, a family history of colon or rectal cancer, a personal history of polyps or colorectal cancer and a high-fat diet based mostly on animal sources.

Probably one of the most important factors to consider is family history. If there have been cases of colorectal cancer in one’s nuclear family, then cancer screening should start ten years before the age of the relative’s diagnosis or at age fifty, whichever is first.

Rectal cancer symptoms that imply a certain amount of bleeding are very important to consider and pay attention to because some individuals might interpret them as symptoms for a completely different problem, such as hemorrhoids. Regardless of this, seeing blood mixed with stool is generally something that will make one seek a doctor’s advice.

There are some cases in which anemia is considered to be a rectal cancer symptom, brought on by prolonged rectal bleeding in small enough quantities to make it non noticeable in the stool. Anemia causes fatigue and shortness of breath, as well as light-headedness.

Obstruction of the normal passage of stool is also one of rectal cancer symptoms that one can look for. This obstruction takes place when a rectal mass is so large that it blocks the proper passage and leads to severe constipation coupled with pain when having a bowel movement. Such a blockage will also result in abdominal pain and cramping.

This type of obstruction can lead to the narrowing of one’s stool size and thus if the stool is thin as a pencil it may be another one of the rectal cancer symptoms to look for. Linked to these rectal cancer symptoms is also the possibility of a sufferer to have the sensation that they cannot completely evacuate the stool after a bowel movement.

Another symptom might be weight loss. If an individual loses weight despite no changes being made in his or her lifestyle, this should automatically lead to a visit to the doctor.

Treatment for rectal cancer symptoms doesn’t really exist because in the case of this cancer one cannot manage the symptoms in any way without dealing with the cause.

Rectal cancer can be treated either through surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. The surgery option is actually used in the case of stage 1 rectal cancer. This is where the surgeon can physically remove the polyps and other cancerous growths as well as any adjacent damaged lymph nodes.

Radiotherapy and chemotherapy are the treatment options for stages 2 and 3 of rectal cancer. These treatments work by targeting and attacking the cancerous growths. However, both of these options come with side effects for the entire body.

The only preventative measures that can be taken in regards to rectal cancer are that of colorectal screenings which can lead to the timely detection and then removal of precancerous growths and a well balanced diet rich in fiber. You can take a look at the many possible symptoms and visit a doctor if you notice any of them.

Last updated on May 13th, 2010 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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