Rectal cancer starts off as small polyps, or growths, in the rectum. These polyps slowly grow over the course of 10 to 15 years and eventually lead to rectal cancer. In the US, adults have about a five percent chance risk of developing the disease.
Personalized screenings at Dignity Health Southern California hospitals can detect polyps before they become cancerous. Our high-quality diagnostic and treatment options will help keep you on top of your health. Use our online Find a Doctor tool to schedule a screening for rectal cancer in Southern California at one of our locations:
Signs & Symptoms of Rectal Cancer
Symptoms of rectal cancer are not usually apparent in the early stages of the disease. After the tumor develops, symptoms become more prominent.
Signs and symptoms of rectal cancer include:
- Diarrhea, constipation, or narrowing of the stool
- Feeling of incomplete emptying
- Bloody or very dark stool
- Rectal bleeding
- Weight loss
- Abdominal discomfort
- Changes in appetite
Causes of Rectal Cancer
Doctors can’t pinpoint the cause of rectal cancer, but they do know certain characteristics increases the chances someone will develop the disease. Risk factors include:
- Age older than 50
- Type 2 diabetes
- Family or personal history of colorectal polyps or cancer
- Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
- Personal history of ovarian, uterine, or breast cancer
- Genetic mutations or conditions
- African-American race
Research about the causes of rectal cancer are mostly inconclusive. Doctors at Dignity Health Southern California hospitals focus on helping you reduce your risk. Controllable risk factors include obesity, sedentary lifestyle, smoking, poor diet, and heavy alcohol use.
Diagnosing Rectal Cancer at Dignity Health Southern California
Your doctor will listen to your symptoms and perform all necessary tests to reach an accurate diagnosis, which may include a colonoscopy. This is a common screening exam that detects rectal polyps before they become cancerous.
A good rectal cancer prognosis largely depends on early detection, so it’s important to have these screenings early to catch growths when they're most treatable. See a specialist at a Dignity Health Southern California hospital to receive a rectal cancer screening in Southern California.
Dignity Health offers reliable treatment and diagnostic services for rectal cancer in Southern California.