Rectal cancer is a condition whereby cancerous growth takes place in the rectum. Though not very common, rectal cancer can affect both men and women with the annual incidence rates in India standing at 3.9 per 10000 (in females) and 4.1 per 100000 in males.
Timely treatment and medication have helped many patients to overcome rectal cancer. One of the various treatments used in the case of rectal cancer includes surgical removal of the malignant cells to avoid further aggravation. In fact, there are many surgical options available to treat rectal cancer and the associated complications.
Abdominoperineal Resection Surgery: The Abdominoperineal Resection Surgery or APR is the surgical option used in the case of rectal cancer spreading to areas adjacent to the anus. In this surgery, the surgeon makes a cut in the lower abdomen as well as the perineum (the area between the vulva and the anus). The procedure involves removal of the cancerous outgrowths affecting the rectal part, along with the anus, the part of the rectum that has not been affected by cancer as well as the adjacent lymph nodes. The next step involves the colostomy (attachment of the incised part of the large intestine to an opening located in the abdominal wall). A bag is attached at the end of this abdominal opening. The main idea behind attachment of the bag is to collect the fecal matter (in the absence of the anus). The APR can trigger abdominal pain or erectile dysfunction (in some men). Though the arrangement can be uncomfortable for some, the treatment has helped in the successful treatment of rectal cancer.
Low Anterior Resection Surgery: Low Anterior Resection Surgery or the LAR is identical to the Abdominoperineal Resection Surgery. However, in the case of LAR, the anus is not excised out of the body as the rectal cancer is located well above the anus. Here, there is no attachment of a bag at the abdominal opening as the anus is still intact and healthy, performing its normal functions. In the case, the cancerous growths are in the lower region of the rectum, the surgeon may have to perform a Colo-Anal Anastomosis (a procedure where the cut end of the large intestine is attached to the anus). However, to avoid any complications and to ensure a speedy recovery, a surgeon may perform a temporary colostomy (reversed once a person has recovered fully).
Local Excision: The Local Excision is a surgical procedure used to remove cancer in the rectum as well as a fragment of the bowel, sparing the anus. Depending on the position of rectal cancer, a patient may undergo a Transanal Excision (when cancer lies very close to the anus, the surgery may be initiated at the anus) or a Transcoccygeal Excision (in the case, cancer is located well above the anus, the local excision is carried out through the coccyx). For effectiveness, the surgery may be followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Rectal bleeding can be a sign of Rectal Cancer - get yourself checked by a specialist!