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Rectal Cancer (cont.)

Is It Possible to Prevent Rectal Cancer?

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.

What Is the Prognosis of Rectal Cancer? What Are Rectal Cancer Survival Rates by Stage?

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 (life expectancy) 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%.

These life expectancy estimates vary depending on the way groups of doctors calculate the statistics.

Rectal Cancer Support Groups and Counseling

Being diagnosed with cancer is a physically and emotionally trying experience. Many avenues of support exist within the local community and beyond, both for people diagnosed with cancer and for their family and friends. The American Cancer Society provides information on local support groups. In addition, social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, and clergy can also be helpful in providing information and companionship through the difficult times caused by a cancer diagnosis.

Last Reviewed 9/11/2017

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Rectal Cancer »

Approximately 135,000 new cases of colorectal cancer occur in the United States each year, resulting in approximately 55,000 deaths per year.

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