Rectal cancer is one of the most complicated and dangerous forms of cancer today.
However, there are many ways to treat the disease effectively, and increase your chances of remission.
The treatment option that your doctor chooses will be based on which stage of the cancer you are in.
For example, a patient in stage zero might undergo a simple biopsy and a few doses of radiation. However, a patient that is in stage three, rectal cancer may need major surgery, radiation treatment, and chemotherapy before remission can be achieved.
When it comes to rectal cancer there are three main stream methods of fighting cancer, radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. However, there are also non traditional methods that are being tested in clinical trials.
Chemotherapy for Treatment of Rectal Cancer
Chemotherapy is a treatment method of injecting known cancer medications directly into the region where cancer is found, or injecting them into the vein for whole body treatment. These drugs combat the cancer by killing the cells that make up the disease.
Chemotherapy treatment can also be taken orally by some patients. The way the chemotherapy is administered will depend upon the type of cancer, the stage of the cancer, and the location. Your doctor will decide which method is best for your situation.
Using Radiation Therapy to Combat Rectal Cancer
Radiation therapy is a method of killing cancer cells by exposing them to toxic radioactive waves or materials. Radioactive products are deadly to all forms of cells, including healthy blood cells.
However, doctors have a way of administering the radiation directly to the cancerous cells, and reducing the number of healthy cells that are killed. The radiation may be administered externally with a machine that send x-rays or radioactive waves through the body, or it could be administered internally.
If administered internally you may be injected with a seed that is placed close to the tumor or cells. Another option is using a catheter containing the radioactive material. The amount of radiation you are exposed to, and the administration method, will also depend on the type, stage, and severity of your cancer.
Surgery for Removing Rectal Cancer
There are many surgical options for removing rectal cancer. Rectal cancer can be found in several sizes and forms. For a small polyp, or cancerous bundle, a colonoscopy can be completed to simply remove the mass.
However, if the cancer is in the wall of the rectum, but still a small area, that section of the rectum may be removed, and the rest of the rectum is sewn together.
If the cancer has spread into several areas of the digestive tract, or into other organs such as the bladder, more invasive procedures may be required.
In the most invasive surgery, the rectum, parts of the colon and the bladder may be removed, and you may be required to use a colostomy bag for future waste removal.
Your physician will determine which type of surgery you need based on the location of the cancer within the rectum, and the severity of the spread.