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Friday, Sep 22nd

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Rectal Cancer Stages

Once cancer of the rectum is found (diagnosed), more tests will be done to find out if cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body (staging). A doctor needs to know the stage of the disease to plan treatment. The following stages are used for cancer of the rectum:
A doctor should be seen if a person has a change in bowel habits or if there is any bleeding from the rectum. A doctor will usually begin by giving the patient a rectal examination. In a Rectal examination, the doctor places a gloved, greased finger into the rectum and gently feels for lumps. The doctor may then check material collected from the rectum to see if there is any blood in it.

Stage I
Stage I cancer of the rectum is very early cancer. Cancer is found only in the top lining of the rectum.

Treatment may be one of the following:
  • Local removal of the tumor.
  • Surgery (bowel resection).
  • Internal radiation therapy.
  • Radiation therapy.
Stage II
Cancer has spread beyond the top lining of the rectum to the second and third layers and involves the inside wall of the rectum, but has not spread to the outer wall of the rectum or outside the rectum. Stage II cancer of the rectum is sometimes called Dukes A rectal cancer.

Treatment may be one of the following:
  • Surgery (Bowel re–section) to remove the tumor.
  • Local removal of the tumor with or without radiation therapy plus Chemotherapy.
  • Internal radiation therapy.
Stage III
Cancer has spread outside the rectum to nearby tissue, but it has not gone into the lymph nodes. (Lymph nodes are small, bean–shaped structures that are found throughout the body. They produce and store cells that fight infection). Stage III cancer of the rectum is sometimes called Dukes B rectal cancer.

Treatment may be one of the following:
  • Surgery (Bowel re–section) to remove the tumor, followed by Radiation therapy and Chemotherapy.
  • Surgery (Bowel re–section) to remove the tumor, as well as the colon, rectum, prostate, or bladder, depending on where the cancer has spread. Surgery is followed by Radiation therapy and Chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy with or without Chemotherapy followed by surgery (Bowel resection) followed by Chemotherapy.
  • Clinical trials evaluating all of the above treatments to find better combinations of Chemotherapy drugs and better ways of combining Radiation therapy with Chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy following surgery with Chemotherapy or Radiation therapy.
Stage IV
Cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, but it has not spread to other parts of the body. Lymph nodes are small bean–shaped structures that are found throughout the body. They produce and store cells that fight infection. Stage IV cancer of the rectum is sometimes called Dukes C rectal cancer.

Treatment may be one of the following:
  • Surgery (Bowel re–section) to remove the tumor, followed by Radiation therapy and Chemotherapy.
  • Surgery (Bowel re–section) to remove the tumor, as well as the colon, rectum, prostate, or bladder, depending on where the cancer has spread. Surgery is followed by Radiation therapy and Chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy with or without Chemotherapy followed by surgery (Bowel re–section) followed by Chemotherapy.
  • Clinical trials evaluating all of the above treatments to find better combinations of Chemotherapy drugs and better ways of combining Radiation therapy with Chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy following surgery with Chemotherapy or Radiation therapy.
Stage V
Cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Stage V cancer of the rectum is sometimes called Dukes D rectal cancer.

Treatment may be one of the following:
  • Surgery (Bowel re–section) to remove or go around the tumor or to make the patient more comfortable.
  • If the tumor has spread only to the liver, lungs, or ovaries, surgery to take out the tumor where it has spread.
  • Radiation therapy and Chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumor and make the patient more comfortable.
  • Chemotherapy to kill the tumor if it has spread (Metastasized) to other parts of the body.
  • A clinical trial evaluating Chemotherapy and Biological therapy.

Recurrent
Recurrent disease means that the cancer has come back (recurred) after it has been treated. It may come back in the rectum or in another part of the body. Recurrent cancer of the rectum is often found in the liver and/or lungs.

Treatment may be one of the following:
  • Surgery (Bowel resection) to remove or go around the tumor or to make the patient more comfortable.
  • Radiation therapy to reduce the size of the tumor and make the patient more comfortable.
  • Chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumor and make the patient more comfortable.
  • Radiation therapy and Chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumor and make the patient more comfortable.

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