What is the rectum? The rectum is the final segment of the large intestine before the anus and any malignant growth in this area of the body is called cancer of the rectum. Due to its relationship with to the rest of the colon, it can develop almost the same type of cancer, and so the presence of these two conditions is often referred to as „colorectal” cancer.
The good news about this form of cancer is that it spreads very slowly and patients can often be cured with early detection and treatment. The disease occurs most often in people over 60. Rectal cancer is associated with poor diet: low in fiber and high in refined foods.
Symptoms include a sudden change in bowel activity and/or blood in the stool. Persistent constipation or diarrhea after years of regularity and should be cause for concern and are symptoms that should not be ignored. Also, there may be a feeling that the bowel is not completely emptied despite abundant defecation, or frequent unsuccessful defecation urges may occur. It is possible that you will not have any of these symptoms until the cancer develops undetected and causes a bowel obstruction. If this occurs, this can lead to peritonitis up to the rupture of the intestine - lethal inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity.
Diagnostic tests include a mandatory colonoscopy: examination of the colon and rectum using a flexible fiberoptic tube which passes through the anus in order to inspect and collect material from the suspected cancer sites in the rectum. It is very important for the surgeon to examine the anus and rectum with a finger and to take a stool sample during the first examination.
When the cancer is not advanced, I recommend surgery to my patients. If a tumor develops in the upper part of the rectum, the diseased portion of the colon can be removed and joined to the rest of the noncancerous altered rectal tissue. If a tumor develops in the lower part of the rectum, I may recommend removal of the rectum and anus simultaneously.
In this case, the anus of the patient is attached to the abdomen in the form of a permanent colostomy. It is an artificial outlet for feces. After surgery, most patients undergo radiology and/or chemotherapy.
When the cancer is very advanced, surgery cannot be performed. At this point, the main concern is palliative care and ensuring the comfort of living with the disease as far as possible.
At this point, there are many medical, ethical, administrative, organizational and other issues. I'm always ready to help according to my abilities and competencies. The important thing is to find the right way, and it is often different for every patient.