Rectal cancer is form of colorectal cancer, which is a common type of cancer. Cancer screenings for early diagnosis are an important part of making rectal cancer treatment successful.
Dignity Health North State oncologists set the standard for rectal cancer treatment in Northern California. Find a Doctor who can help you understand your best strategy for rectal cancer prevention with one of our cancer prevention programs.
Rectal Cancer Risk Factors
Doctors know that certain risk factors can increase your likelihood of developing rectal cancer:
- Being 50 years of age or older
- Being African American
- Certain gene mutations or genetic conditions
- Type 2 diabetes
- Personal history of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, uterine cancer, or inflammatory bowel disease
- Family or personal history of colorectal polyps or cancer
Your lifestyle habits can also increase your risk. This includes being overweight, not exercising, smoking, having a poor diet, and using alcohol heavily.
Rectal Cancer Prevention Strategies from Dignity Health North State
Screening exams, such as colonoscopy, can find rectal polyps before they develop into cancer. These small growths of cells on the inner lining of the intestines are common as you age. Since doctors don't know which polyps will become cancer, they often remove them all during a colonoscopy. Talk to your doctor about additional screening tests that may be helpful. There are specific recommended cancer screenings for both men and women.
You can reduce your risk of rectal cancer by:
- Eating a balanced diet with a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Not smoking — Dignity Health’s “Quit for Good” class can help
- Drinking alcohol in moderation
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting moderate or vigorous exercise most days of the week
It’s not always possible to prevent rectal cancer. Talk with your doctor about the best way to find rectal cancer in its early stages when it’s most treatable.