Rectal Carcinoma

Rectal Cancer – Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Rectal cancer is a form of cancer that affects the rectum and lower colon, which are parts of the large intestine. It is also called colorectal cancer, colon cancer, or rectal adenocarcinoma, and is the third most common cancer in both men and women. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to a successful outcome, so it is important to be aware of the symptoms and risk factors.

Symptoms of Rectal Cancer

The most common symptom of rectal cancer is persistent rectal bleeding. This can vary in severity from mild spotting or streaks of blood when wiping after a bowel movement, to more severe bleeding that requires changing a pad after a bowel movement. Other symptoms include changes in bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea, frequent cramping or abdominal pain, a feeling that the rectal muscles have not completely emptied after a bowel movement, or a Feeling of pressure in that area.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If any of the symptoms of rectal cancer are present, it is recommended to make an appointment with doctor to have it checked out. A doctor will typically undertake some form of imaging tests like an X-ray, CT scan, MRI, or colonoscopy to get a better picture of the affected area. In some situations, a biopsy may be recommended to confirm the presence of cancer. Treatment for rectal cancer typically involves surgery to remove the cancerous cells, along with chemotherapy or radiation therapy in some cases.

Risk Factors

The exact cause of rectal cancer is not known, but certain risk factors may increase the chances of developing it. These include:

  • Advanced age – rectal cancer is more common in people over the age of 40.
  • Family history of colorectal cancer or polyps.
  • Diet high in red and processed meats.
  • Diet low in fruits and vegetables.
  • Smoking.
  • Obesity.
  • Diabetes.
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases.


Rectal cancer can be prevented through lifestyle choices and regular screenings. Healthy lifestyle choices, such as a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in red and processed meats, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking can all reduce the risk of rectal cancer. Additionally, regular screenings for rectal cancer can help to detect it in early stages, when it is most easily treated.