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Expert Care for Rectal Cancer


Rectal cancer starts in the rectum, the last six inches of the large intestine. It’s a form of colorectal cancer, a common cancer that starts as noncancerous polyps. The polyps develop into cancer slowly over 10 to 15 years. 

Dignity Health provides personal care for patients with rectal cancer in the Bay Area, using the latest tools and technologies. Find a Doctor online to visit one of our four convenient locations: 

Rectal Cancer Causes

Health experts don’t fully understand the cause of rectal cancer. However, some things make you more likely to develop rectal cancer:

  • African American race
  • Age 50 or older
  • Certain gene mutations or genetic conditions
  • Family or personal history of colorectal polyps or cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cancers of the ovary, uterus, or breast
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Lifestyle factors, including smoking, poor diet, heavy alcohol use, and not exercising

Rectal Cancer Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of rectal cancer include: 

  • Changes in appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Fatigue
  • Bloody or very dark stools
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Weight loss
  • Changes in bowel habits, including constipation, diarrhea, narrowing of the stool, and a feeling of incomplete emptying

Rectal Cancer Treatment at Dignity Health

Our highly trained oncologists offer a range of treatment and prevention options for rectal cancer. Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer. Surgery is the most common treatment for all stages of rectal cancer. Other treatment strategies include: 

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Targeted therapy 

Screening exams, such as colonoscopy, can find precancerous polyps and early stages of rectal cancer. When rectal cancer is found early, treatment is more likely to be effective. Make an appointment for a colonoscopy with a Dignity Health doctor near you.

You can trust Dignity Health’s expert cancer care team to provide complete care for rectal cancer in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.