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Rectal Cancer

Progressive Surgical Care

Colorectal Surgeons and General Surgeons located in Howard Beach, Queens & New Hyde Park, Long Island

More than 40,000 people in the United States receive a diagnosis of rectal cancer each year, making it the nation’s third leading type of cancer. In Forest Hills, New Hyde Park, Long Island and Howard Beach, Queens, the experienced team of physicians offers comprehensive, on-site diagnostic testing using the latest technology to treat and diagnose rectal cancer. Find out more about your options for treating rectal cancer today by calling the office nearest you.

Rectal Cancer Q & A

What’s rectal cancer?

Rectal cancer is a progressive disease that develops when malignant, or cancerous, cells form in the tissues of the rectum, which is the last area of your large intestine.

Your risk of developing rectal cancer increases if you have a close family member with the condition or a personal history of cancer.

Other common factors that can influence your risk of rectal cancer include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • African American race
  • Radiation used to treat Prostate or Cervical Cancer

Your risk of rectal cancer can also go up as you get older.

What are the symptoms of rectal cancer?

Rectal cancer can cause a variety of symptoms that could be severe enough to interfere with your daily routine. These symptoms include:

  • Blood in stool or streaking on stool
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Rectal pain
  • Anemia
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Changes in stool appearance
  • Difficulty with rectal evacuation

You might also notice blood in the toilet or your stool after a bowel movement. The blood can appear very bright to very dark red.

Symptoms of rectal cancer can be very similar to other types of digestive conditions and dysfunction. For this reason, it’s important to stay aware of your symptoms and schedule a diagnostic evaluation at Progressive Surgical Care as soon as possible.

How’s rectal cancer diagnosed?

To rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms, your Progressive Surgical Care physician reviews your medical history and performs a physical exam including a focused proctologic exam of your rectum.

To get a closer look at the inner structures of your rectum and colon, the Progressive Surgical Care team offers on-site colonoscopies. During this procedure, your physician can identify abnormal growths, known as polyps, which can contain cancerous cells.

As part of your colonoscopy, your Progressive Surgical Care surgeon can remove small polyps and do a biopsy on polyps that are too large to remove. They take a sample of the polyp tissue for further analysis at a pathology laboratory.

What treatments are available for rectal cancer?

Treatment of rectal cancer depends on how far it’s progressed and where it’s found in the rectum. The goal of treatment is to preserve your anal sphincter functionality and prevent the need for a colostomy. These procedures can be done laparoscopically and robotically.

In many cases, a patient may receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy before surgery to shrink the tumor, sterilize the area, and make the tumor more easily resectable. Sometimes, surgery may be avoided if the tumor shrinks and is not detectable. This can happen in up to 25% of cases after neoadjuvant chemoradiation therapy. This is called a complete response.  

The surgical team also creates customized minimally-invasive procedures to eliminate cancerous tissue and prevent the spread of rectal cancer. The “Watch and Wait” method pioneered by Dr. Angelita Habra Gama of Brazil for complete responders of neoadjuvant chemotherapy patients for rectal cancer may be employed in selected patients. Moreover, minimally invasive sphincter sparing techniques are employed to avoid a colostomy in more than 95% of patients.

In many cases, the Progressive Surgical Care team meticulously and surgically removes the rectal tumor or cancer and the surrounding tissue to prevent the spread of the cancer cells throughout the body.

To learn more about available rectal cancer treatments, call the office nearest you today to schedule a consultation. You can also book an appointment online.