(Cancer of the Rectum)
- Age: 50 or older
- Hereditary conditions (eg, familial polyposis or lynch syndrome)
- History of colon or rectal cancer or polyps
- Family history of colorectal cancer, especially a parent, sibling, or child
- Radiation therapy for prostate cancer
- Diet high in fat and low in fiber
- Heavy alcohol intake
- Physical inactivity
- Blood (bright red or very dark) in the stool
- A change in bowel habits, such as diarrhea , constipation , or the bowel does not empty completely
- Stools have a different shape than usual (eg, narrower)
- Abdominal discomfort (gas pains, bloating, fullness, and/or cramps)
- Change in eating habits
- Unexplained weight loss
- Frequently feeling tired or run down
- Digital rectal exam—the doctor's gloved finger will examine the rectum for lumps or growths
- Fecal occult blood test —a test to check for hidden blood in the stool
- Colonoscopy —examination of the rectum and colon using a lighted tube called a colonoscope
- Sigmoidoscopy —examination of the lower colon using a lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope
- Barium enema —rectal injection of barium coats the lining of the colon and rectum; done before x-rays to create better images of the lower intestine
- CT colonography —radiology test that looks at your large intestines
- Biopsy —removal of tissue to test for cancer
- Polypectomy —removal of a polyp during a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy
- Blood tests to look for anemia and cancer markers in the blood
- CT scan —x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body; identifies the spread of the tumor
- Positron emission tomography (PET) —produces images showing the amount of functional activity in tissue; shows if the disease has spread outside the pelvis
- Transrectal ultrasound—an ultrasound probe inserted into the rectum sends out sound waves to image the tumor
- Laparoscopy —This is for the removal of early stage cancer.
- Open surgery—This is used to remove larger, later stage tumors, nearby healthy tissue, and potentially nearby lymph nodes. The doctor will look for additional cancer in the colon.
- Yearly fecal occult blood test or fecal immunochemical test
- Colonoscopy every 10 years
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years
- Double contrast barium enema (x-rays of the colon and rectum) every five years
- CT colonography every five years
- Strong family history of colorectal cancer or polyps
- Family history of hereditary colorectal cancer syndromes
- History of colorectal cancer or adenomatous polyps
- History of chronic inflammatory bowel disease
- Not smoking
- Being physically active (eg, exercising at least 30 minutes on most days of the week)
- Reducing your alcohol intake
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating a healthy diet (eg, high in fruits, vegetables, and fiber, and low in red meat)
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca/
Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada http://www.colorectal-cancer.ca/
Casciato DA. Manual of Clinical Oncology . 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2004.
Cashen AF, Wildes TM. The Washington Manual; Hematology and Oncology Subspeciality Consult . 2nd ed. Wolter Kluwers; 2008.
Colon carcinoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Accessed March 18, 2008.
Colon and rectal cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/colon-and-rectal . Accessed July 17, 2008.
National colorectal cancer roundtable. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI%5F2%5F6X%5FNational%5FColorectal%5FCancer%5FRoundtable.asp?sitearea .
US Preventative Task Force. Screening for colorectal cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med . 2008;149:627-637. Epub 2008 Oct 6.
Washington University School of Medicine Department of Medicine. The Washington manual subspeciality series, hematology and oncology subspeciality consult series . St. Louis, MO: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008.
11/19/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Kirkegaard H, Johnsen NF, Christensen J, Frederiksen K, Overvad K, Tjønneland A. Association of adherence to lifestyle recommendations and risk of colorectal cancer: a prospective Danish cohort study. BMJ. 2010;341:c5504.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 02/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/22/2012 -