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Rectal Cancer (cont.)

Rectal Cancer Follow-up

Because a risk exists of rectal cancer coming back after treatment, routine follow-up care is necessary. Follow-up care usually consists of regular visits to the doctor's office for physical exams, blood studies, and imaging studies. In addition, a colonoscopy is recommended one year after a diagnosis of rectal cancer. If the findings from the colonoscopy are normal, then the procedure can be repeated every three years.

Rectal Cancer Prevention

Appropriate colorectal screening leading to the detection and removal of precancerous growths is the only way to prevent this disease. Screening tests for rectal cancer include fecal occult blood test and endoscopy. If a family history of colorectal cancer is present in a first-degree relative (a parent or a sibling), then endoscopy of the colon and rectum should begin 10 years before the age of the relative's diagnosis or at age 50 years, whichever comes first.

Rectal Cancer Prognosis and Survival Rate

The outlook for recovery from rectal cancer is unique for each individual. Many factors are involved when considering the chance of survival after rectal cancer treatment.

Long-term survival generally depends upon the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis and treatment.

According to stage, the following approximations of the likelihood of survival five years after treatment are as follows:

  • Stage I: The probability of being alive in five years is approximately 70%-80%.
  • Stage II: The probability of being alive in five years is approximately 50%-60%.
  • Stage III: The probability of being alive in five years is approximately 30%-40%.
  • Stage IV: The probability of being alive in five years is less than 10%.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/22/2015

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