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Rectal cancer is cancer that starts in the lining of the rectum, which is the last six inches of the colon, or large intestine.
WakeMed’s gastroenterology team helps rectal cancer patients lead longer and healthier lives through early detection, a range of treatment options, and individualized and collaborative care. When surgery is needed, our colorectal surgeons provide expert surgical care.
Rectal cancer is highly treatable when caught early, so catching any early warning signs is crucial.
However, some people experience no symptoms of rectal cancer.
When present, rectal cancer symptoms can include:
There is a higher risk of rectal cancer in people who:
Early detection is the best way to effectively treat rectal cancer. Most rectal cancer develops from rectal polyps, which are growths on the rectal wall. A colonoscopy looks at the inner lining of the colon and the rectum to check for polyps or cancer.
If the results from a colonoscopy determine that it’s rectal cancer, we may perform more tests, including:
At WakeMed, we work collaboratively to create a customized treatment plan for each patient. Depending on the stage of the cancer, or how far it’s spread, treatment can include:
Thanks to minimally invasive robotic surgery and laparoscopy, our surgeons can often perform surgery for rectal cancer without making large incisions.
In robotic/laparoscopic rectal surgery, the surgeon carefully removes the cancer, lymph nodes, and a portion of the normal rectum.
Learn more about what to expect from colorectal surgery.
If you or someone you care for is experiencing worrisome symptoms, we encourage you to make an appointment with one of our adult gastroenterologists, pediatric gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeons.
3000 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27610