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Understanding Rectal Cancer: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Cancer is a very challenging disease that that occur when cells in the body become abnormal and grow uncontrollably. One of the types of cancer that has been on the rise is rectal cancer, which develops in the rectum. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment of rectal cancer is essential for early detection and better prognosis.



The exact cause of rectal cancer is unknown; however, certain risk factors may contribute to its development. These risk factors include a family history of colon or rectal cancer, age above 50 years, a history of inflammatory bowel disease, a sedentary lifestyle, and a diet high in fat and processed foods.


Rectal cancer may not present symptoms in its early stages; however, as it progresses, various signs may begin to show. These signs include diarrhea, constipation, blood in the stool, abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is essential to visit your doctor as early detection is crucial for more effective treatment.


To diagnose rectal cancer, your doctor may conduct a physical exam, ask questions about your symptoms, and recommend some tests. Common tests that may help in the diagnosis of rectal cancer include colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, biopsy, and imaging tests such as CT scans and MRI scans.


The treatment of rectal cancer depends on several factors, including the stage of cancer, the location of the tumour, and the patient's overall health. The main treatments for rectal cancer are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. In some cases, a combination of these treatments may be necessary. Surgery involves removing the tumour and surrounding tissue, and in some cases, a portion of the colon or rectum. Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation to kill cancer cells, while chemotherapy uses drugs to treat cancer.


In conclusion, rectal cancer is a serious disease that requires early detection and proper treatment. Knowing the causes, symptoms, and treatment options is crucial for individuals to maintain their health and wellbeing. Regular screenings, maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and minimizing exposure to risk factors may help prevent rectal cancer. If you experience any symptoms, do not hesitate to visit your doctor for prompt diagnosis and treatment.