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Rectal Cancer Specialist

Barrington Surgeons, LTD

Surgeon located in Barrington, IL

Dr. Hoeltgen and Dr. Wool at Barrington Surgeons provide expert surgical treatment for patients living with rectal cancer from in and around Barrington, Illinois.

Rectal Cancer Q & A

What Is Rectal Cancer?

The rectum is the lowest part of the colon. Like colon cancer, abnormal cells can grow in or on the walls of this tissue. Also, like colon cancer, rectal cancer is symptomless in its early stages, which makes having regular screening tests such as colonoscopies essential. Men and women should have screenings every five years from the age of 50. Those with a family or medical history of colon cancer should start their screenings earlier and have them more regularly. Some of the common symptoms of rectal cancer include rectal bleeding, dark or bloody stools, a change in bowel habits, cramping or abdominal pain, unintended weight loss, and weakness and fatigue. Again, similarly to colon cancer, it is important to remember that many of these symptoms are also caused by other non-cancerous medical conditions.

What Are the Risk Factors for Rectal Cancer?

Like many cancers of the digestive tract, rectal cancer can have hereditary links. Other risk factors include:

  • Increasing age
  • Smoking
  • High fat and high animal product diet
  • Personal history of polyps or colorectal cancers
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Family history of colorectal cancers

What Are the Treatments for Rectal Cancer?

Surgery is the most effective treatment to remove rectal cancer. Dr. Wool and Dr. Hoeltgen provide rectal cancer removal surgeries to remove the tumor and affected tissue. Both doctors are highly experienced in laparoscopic surgeries and in the use of the da Vinci Surgical System. Both of these surgical procedures typically produce better patient outcomes with improved recovery times and less scarring. Rectal cancer has a relatively low chance of recurrence, so chemotherapy is not often the best solution. There are four types of surgeries that are possible treatments for rectal cancer:

  • Transanal excision is best if the tumor is small, located close to the anus, and confined only to the innermost layer. No lymph nodes are removed with this procedure and no incisions are made in the skin.
  • Mesorectal surgery involves the careful dissection of the tumor from the healthy tissue.
  • Low anterior resection (LAR) is more effective when the cancer is in the upper part of the rectum. This surgical procedure requires an abdominal incision, and the lymph nodes are typically removed along with the segment of the rectum containing the tumor. The two ends of the colon and rectum that surrounded the cancer can be joined, allowing normal bowel function to resume after surgery.
  • Abdominoperineal resection (APR) is performed if the tumor is located close to the anus. The surgeon will also remove the lymph during this procedure. Patients who have an abdominoperineal resection also have to have a colostomy to allow waste to leave the body.