Rectal cancer is cancer of the last six inches of the large intestine. This gastrointestinal cancer start out as small, noncancerous growths called polyps, which become cancerous over 10 to 15 years. Most US adults have a five percent risk of developing rectal cancer over their lifetime.
In addition to the latest advances in treatment, Dignity Health Central California offers support, counseling, and a cancer research library to help you better understand your options. Our oncologists will develop a highly specialized and personalized treatment plan for you. Find a Doctor today who treats rectal cancer in Central California with humankindness.
Common Causes of Rectal Cancer
The cause of rectal cancer is not known. However, doctors do know a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing the disease:
- Family or personal history of colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer
- Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease or cancer of the breast, ovary, or uterus
- Being over age 50
- Certain genetic conditions and gene mutations
- Type 2 diabetes
- African American race
- Lifestyle factors, including being overweight, smoking, not exercising, poor diet, and heavy alcohol use
Rectal Cancer Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of rectal cancer include:
- Changes in bowel habits, including diarrhea, constipation, narrowing of the stool, and a feeling of incomplete emptying
- Very dark or bloody stool
- Abdominal discomfort
- Rectal bleeding
- Changes in appetite and weight loss
Rectal Cancer Treatment at Dignity Health Central California
For all stages of rectal cancer, surgery is the most common treatment option. However, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy may also be recommended.
Early detection of rectal cancer — ideally in the noncancerous polyp stage — offers the best chance for successful treatment. That’s why doctors recommend colonoscopy and other cancer screenings. Ask your doctor about which tests are right for you based on your age, gender, and lifestyle.
Dignity Health Central California offers a range of treatments and support for rectal cancer in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.