Rectal Cancer (cont.)
Timothy Kuo, MD
George Fisher, MD, PhD
Winston W Tan, MD
Mary L Windle, PharmD
Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP
IN THIS ARTICLE
Surgical removal of a tumor is the cornerstone of curative therapy for localized rectal cancer. In addition to removing the rectal tumor, removing the fat and lymph nodes in the area of a rectal tumor is also necessary to minimize the chance that any cancer cells might be left behind.
However, because the rectum is in the pelvis and is close to the anal sphincter (the muscle that controls the ability to hold stool in the rectum), rectal surgery can be difficult. With more deeply invading tumors and when the lymph nodes are involved, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are usually included in the treatment course to increase the chance that all microscopic cancer cells are removed or killed.
Four types of surgeries are possible, depending on the location of the tumor in relation to the anus.
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