The rectum forms the last six inches of the large intestine (colon). When the cells of the rectum mutate and start growing out of control, rectal cancer develops. If the polyps on the inner wall of the rectum become cancerous, it also leads to this cancer. As age passes, you have more risk of rectal cancer. As there are many improvements in the treatment of rectal cancer than before, curing rectal cancer is possible in many cases. It can help if you consult the best rectal cancer doctor in Kolkata.
You can have different symptoms of rectal cancer. These include:
- Blood in the stool
- Pain in the abdomen
- Constipation or diarrhoea or both
- A feeling that you are not being able to empty your bowels
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling in the hands or feet
- Persistent cough
- Loss of weight
When you undergo some tests for finding out the cause of rectal bleeding or anaemia, the doctor may be able to detect rectal cancer. A colonoscopy is a very effective test. The doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube with a light and video camera in your body to have a clear view of your colon and rectum. He/she removes small tissue samples from concerned areas during a colonoscopy and sends them to the laboratory for proper analysis. It helps in a more accurate diagnosis.
Staging rectal cancer
A cancer specialist in Kolkata makes an effort to determine your cancer’s extent (stage) after he/she is sure that you have rectal cancer. Staging helps the doctor to decide the proper treatment option. It is done by the following procedures:
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)
- Chemistry panel
- CT (computed tomography) scan of the chest
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the pelvis
Stage 0, Stage I, Stage II, Stage III and Stage IV are the different stages of rectal cancer.
There is often the necessity of more than one treatment type (modality) for rectal cancer. This approach is known as multimodal therapy.
It is an effective way of treating rectal cancer. There are various surgical procedures. Cancer surgery service in Kolkata can help you to get rid of rectal cancer.
Abdominoperineal resection with end colostomy
When the location of the rectal tumour is almost near the anal sphincter, abdominoperineal resection (APR) offers the best chance of cure. The surgeon removes the sphincter along with the tumour. You cannot pass stool through the anus after APR. The surgeon connects the end of the colon to a stoma (surgical opening) in the lower abdomen. The stool gets accumulated in a removable pouch that is placed over the stoma. It is known as end colostomy.
If the location of the tumour is at least 1 centimetre above the anal sphincter, this procedure can be a good option as it leaves the sphincter intact. The removal of the rectum with the surrounding tissues takes place in the first step. The surgeon then connects the end of the colon directly to the anus.
Low anterior resection
The surgeon carries out this procedure if the tumour is located in the rectum’s upper part. He/she leaves the lower part of the rectum intact and removes the tumour as well as a marginal portion of the healthy tissue around it. This leaves the anus intact and the surgeon attaches the colon to the remaining section of the rectum.
If there is no chance of the spreading or recurring of the tumour, the surgeon goes for this technique. He/she removes a margin of nearby healthy tissue along with the tumour. There is no removal of the lymph node in this case. The testing of the excised tissue takes place in the laboratory. If it is found that there are signs of more advanced cancer, you need another surgery.
More extensive surgery may be necessary in some cases.
The doctor recommends chemotherapy before or after surgery. Sometimes, a combination of chemotherapy and radiation (chemoradiotherapy) is given before the surgery takes place.