Rectal cancer

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Rectal cancer is a significant health concern in India, affecting individuals across various age groups. With the increasing incidence of colorectal cancer in the country, understanding the signs and symptoms, classification, causes, risk factors, types, diagnostic tests, treatments, complications, prevention techniques, and notable cases of rectal cancer becomes crucial. This article aims to shed light on rectal cancer in the Indian context, providing valuable insights into its detection, treatment, and prevention.

Signs and Symptoms:

Rectal cancer may present with the following signs and symptoms:

1. Changes in Bowel Habits: Persistent diarrhea or constipation, or a change in the consistency or shape of stool.

2. Rectal Bleeding: Blood in the stool or bleeding from the rectum.

3. Abdominal Discomfort: Pain, cramps, or bloating in the abdominal area.

4. Fatigue and Weakness: Unexplained fatigue, weakness, or a feeling of general malaise.

5. Weight Loss: Unintentional weight loss without a known cause.

What is Rectal Cancer?

Rectal cancer refers to the growth of cancerous cells in the rectum, the lower part of the large intestine. It is a type of colorectal cancer and is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the rectal lining. If left untreated, rectal cancer can spread to nearby tissues and other organs, leading to more advanced stages of the disease.

How is Rectal Cancer Classified?

Rectal cancer is classified based on its location within the rectum and its stage of progression. The stages range from 0 to IV, with stage 0 being the earliest and stage IV indicating advanced cancer that has spread to distant sites in the body. The classification helps guide treatment decisions and prognosis.

Causes and Triggers:

The exact cause of rectal cancer is not fully understood. However, certain factors may increase the risk of developing the disease, including:

1. Age: The risk of rectal cancer increases with age, and it is more commonly diagnosed in individuals above the age of 50.

2. Family History: Having a family history of colorectal cancer or certain genetic conditions, such as Lynch syndrome or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), increases the risk.

3. Personal History: Individuals with a history of colorectal polyps, inflammatory bowel disease (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), or previous radiation therapy to the pelvic area are at higher risk.

4. Lifestyle Factors: Unhealthy lifestyle choices, including a diet high in red and processed meats, low fiber intake, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and smoking, may contribute to an increased risk.

Risk Factors with Examples:

Several risk factors may increase an individual’s susceptibility to rectal cancer:

1. Age: As mentioned earlier, the risk of rectal cancer rises with age. People above 50 years old are at higher risk.
Example: A 60-year-old individual diagnosed with rectal cancer.

2. Family History: A family history of colorectal cancer or certain genetic conditions can increase the risk of rectal cancer.
Example: A person whose parent or sibling has had colorectal cancer.

3. Personal History of Polyps or Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Individuals with a history of colorectal polyps or inflammatory bowel disease have an increased risk of rectal cancer.
Example: A patient previously diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

Types of Rectal Cancer:

Rectal cancer can be classified into different types based on the type of cells involved. The main types include:

1. Adenocarcinoma: This is the most common type of rectal cancer, accounting for over 95% of cases. It originates in the glandular cells that line the rectum.

2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This type of rectal cancer is relatively rare and develops from the squamous cells that line the anus. It is more commonly associated with anal cancer.

3. Neuroendocrine Tumors: Neuroendocrine tumors are rare and can develop in the rectum. These tumors arise from the hormone-producing cells in the rectal lining.

Diagnostic Tests and Treatments:

Diagnosis and treatment of rectal cancer typically involve the following:

  • Colonoscopy: A colonoscopy is performed to visualize the rectum and identify any abnormal growths or polyps. Biopsy samples may be collected during the procedure for further analysis.
  • Imaging Tests: Imaging techniques such as CT scans, MRI scans, or PET scans may be used to determine the stage and extent of the cancer.
  • Treatment Options: Treatment for rectal cancer depends on the stage and individual factors. It may involve surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of these approaches.
  • Surgery: Surgical options include local excision, transanal resection, or more extensive procedures such as anterior resection or abdominoperineal resection.

  • Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy may be used before or after surgery to shrink tumors, destroy remaining cancer cells, or relieve symptoms.

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs may be administered orally or intravenously to destroy cancer cells or reduce the risk of recurrence.

Complications of Rectal Cancer and Prevention Techniques:

Complications of rectal cancer can include cancer recurrence, spread to distant organs, bowel obstruction, or complications from surgery or radiation therapy. To reduce the risk of rectal cancer:

1. Regular Screening: Undergoing regular screenings, such as colonoscopies, can help detect and remove precancerous polyps or identify cancer at an early stage.

2. Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can lower the risk of rectal cancer.

Rectal cancer is a challenging condition that requires specialized care and expertise. Marengo Asia Hospitals, with its wide reach across India, is at the forefront of providing comprehensive treatment and support for patients with rectal cancer. With a multidisciplinary approach, state-of-the-art facilities, and a patient-centric philosophy, Marengo Asia Hospitals is equipped to handle the complexities of rectal cancer, offering personalized care that focuses on optimal outcomes and improved quality of life.

Multidisciplinary Approach:

Marengo Asia Hospitals adopts a multidisciplinary approach to rectal cancer treatment. A team of experienced healthcare professionals, including surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists, collaborate to develop personalized treatment plans for each patient. This approach ensures that all aspects of the disease are addressed comprehensively, leading to better treatment outcomes and enhanced patient well-being.

Advanced Diagnostic Tools:

Accurate and early diagnosis is crucial in effectively managing rectal cancer. Marengo Asia Hospitals utilizes advanced diagnostic tools and techniques to assess the extent of the disease and plan appropriate treatment strategies. These may include:

1. Digital Rectal Examination (DRE): A physical examination to evaluate the rectum for any abnormalities or tumors.

2. Colonoscopy: A procedure that allows direct visualization of the rectum and colon using a flexible tube with a camera. It helps detect and biopsy suspicious areas.

3. Imaging Studies: Advanced imaging techniques such as CT scans, MRI scans, or PET scans provide detailed images of the rectal tumor, allowing for accurate staging and treatment planning.

Tailored Treatment Plans:

Each patient’s treatment plan at Marengo Asia Hospitals is tailored to their specific condition, taking into account factors such as the stage of the cancer, location, and individual health considerations. Treatment options may include:

1. Surgery: Surgical intervention is often the primary treatment for rectal cancer. Procedures such as local excision, transanal resection, or more extensive surgeries like anterior resection or abdominoperineal resection may be performed to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue.

2. Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy may be used before surgery (neoadjuvant) to shrink the tumor, or after surgery (adjuvant) to kill any remaining cancer cells. It can also help alleviate symptoms and prevent local recurrence.

3. Chemotherapy: Systemic chemotherapy, either alone or in combination with radiation therapy, may be recommended to destroy cancer cells or reduce the risk of recurrence. Targeted therapy drugs may also be used in certain cases to specifically target cancer cells.

Supportive Care and Rehabilitation:

Marengo Asia Hospitals recognizes the importance of providing comprehensive supportive care to rectal cancer patients. Throughout the treatment journey, patients have access to a range of supportive services, including pain management, nutritional counseling, psychological support, and rehabilitation programs. These services aim to improve quality of life, manage treatment side effects, and support patients in their physical and emotional recovery.

Clinical Trials and Research:

Marengo Asia Hospitals actively participates in clinical trials and research studies focused on rectal cancer treatment and management. By staying at the forefront of medical advancements, the hospitals can offer patients access to novel treatment options and innovative therapies that may improve outcomes and quality of life. Participation in clinical trials also contributes to advancing medical knowledge and shaping future standards of care.

Patient Education and Counseling:

Marengo Asia Hospitals places great emphasis on patient education and counseling. Understanding the disease, treatment options, and potential side effects empowers patients to make informed decisions and actively participate in their care. Patients and their families receive guidance and support from healthcare professionals, ensuring that they have the information and resources needed to navigate their journey with rectal cancer.

Notable Cases and Success Stories:

Marengo Asia Hospitals has treated numerous patients with rectal cancer, with many success stories highlighting the impact of their comprehensive care. While specific public figures may not be disclosed due to privacy considerations, these success stories serve as a testament to the hospitals’ expertise and commitment to delivering positive outcomes for all patients.

Rectal cancer requires specialized care, expertise, and a multidisciplinary approach for optimal management. Marengo Asia Hospitals, with its extensive reach and commitment to excellence, stands as a pillar of support for rectal cancer patients across India. Through advanced diagnostics, tailored treatment plans, supportive care, patient education, and participation in clinical research, the hospitals provide comprehensive and personalized care that empowers patients to combat rectal cancer and achieve improved outcomes. With Marengo Asia Hospitals’ dedication to excellence and patient-centric approach, individuals battling rectal cancer can find solace, support, and hope on their journey to recovery.


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Gujarat, INDIA

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