March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, but what is it? Rectal cancer affects the cells in the rectum, the last piece of the large intestine. It’s usually grouped with colon cancer and commonly known as colorectal cancer. Like any other cancer diagnosis, rectal cancer survival rate varies, depending on the stage in which treatment begins. If you’re 50 years or older, you need to know about rectal cancer symptoms, causes, and treatments.
Rectal Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
Rectal cancer causes and diagnosis at a cancer center in Las Vegas
During digestion food moves from the stomach and small intestine to the colon, where it absorbs nutrients and water and pushes waste to the rectum. Rectal cancer begins with the growth of non-cancerous polyps. Polyps are small clumps of cells that form on the lining of the colon and can occur in anyone.
Although anyone can experience rectal cancer-causing polyps, high-risk factors like these increase chances:
- Age 50 or older
- Being overweight
- Lack of physical activity
Recognizing symptoms early on is an important first step to successful rectal cancer treatment. An anal pap test can detect cancer. Any of the symptoms below should be followed by a pap smear:
- Rectal itching and/or bleeding
- Feeling a lump near the anal opening
- Anus pain
- Abnormal discharge and pain from the rectum
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin or anus
- Persistent diarrhea or constipation
- Bloody Stool
Rectal cancer treatments from a Las Vegas cancer center
One of the most common questions for patients going in for cancer screening or treatments is, what is the rectal cancer survival rate? First off, the highest form of cancer treatment is prevention by having regular cancer screenings. Regular colonoscopies and fecal blood tests have lowered rectal cancer death rates.
Rectal cancer treatments include:
- Radiation therapy
The chance of recovery hinges on the stage of the cancer, like whether it affects the inner lining of the rectum only, envelopes the whole rectum or has spread to other organs in the body. Rectal cancer survival rates after five years are as follows:
- Stage I: 70-80 percent
- Stage II: 50-60 percent
- Stage III: 30-40 percent
- Stage IV: 10 percent or less
Colorectal Cancer Treatment and Prevention Services
If you are concerned that you are showing symptoms, or have a family history of rectal cancer, seek treatment and screenings at Nevada Surgery and Cancer Center. Doctors Stephanie Wishnev and Ren Yu Zhang specialize in overall rectal health, and Dr. Wishnev is one of the only surgeons in the state currently performing anorectal ultrasound for rectal cancer. Make an appointment today.