• Joel Bauer MD
  • Stephen Gorfine MD
  • David Chessin MD
  • Daniel Popowich MD

Rectal Cancer

Manhattan Rectal Cancer Surgery

Experienced & Caring New York Surgeons

Rectal cancer is a very common form of cancer for both men and women. The rectum is continuous with the colon (large intestine) and is approximately 15 centimeters in length, ending with the anus.

Most cases of rectal cancer are asymptomatic and diagnosed by screening colonoscopy, however since symptoms are not always specific to this disease, thorough testing is very important. The exact cause is unknown, but most cases arise from polyps (growths) of the lining of the colon.

At Manhattan Surgical Associates, our colorectal surgeons are prepared to offer you with testing and treatment for rectal cancer in any stage. Call us today at 646.798.4606.

Diagnosis & Symptoms of Rectal Cancer

Rectal cancer is diagnosed using a combination of patient history, physical examination, endoscopy, radiology, and pathology. The diagnosis is often made using colonoscopy with biopsies. When patients have endoscopy or surgery for the disease, tissue is often submitted to the pathologist for an evaluation, where they look at the tissue under a microscope and makes the diagnosis of rectal cancer. Colonoscopy is also important in patients with a history of rectal cancer for surveillance of the colon for development of tumor recurrence.

Radiology tests that may be ordered include plain X-ray and CT scan of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. These studies are often utilized in the evaluation for evidence of metastatic disease (tumor spread beyond the primary site in the colon).

Patients may also have an endorectal ultrasound, where a slender ultrasound probe is inserted through the anus into the rectum to evaluate the stage of the tumor. Once diagnosed, treatment includes surgical resection (removal) of the involved colon. Depending on the stage, preoperative chemotherapy and radiation and/or postoperative chemotherapy and radiation may be recommended.

Common symptoms of this disease may include:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Pain
  • Obstruction
  • Weight loss

Board-Certified Surgeons Providing Treatment Options

The treatment of rectal cancer varies based upon the local and distant extent of tumor spread. Based upon the preoperative endorectal ultrasound staging, preoperative chemotherapy and radiation may be offered. This is done to shrink the tumor, decrease the rate of local recurrence after surgery, and increase the chances of the surgery being done without a colostomy. If there is no spread beyond the primary site in the colon, the treatment is often removal of the involved colon.

Following removal of the colon, the pathologist will evaluate the tumor under the microscope and give it a stage based upon the depth of penetration of tumor in the wall of the colon, as well as the presence of tumor in the lymph nodes surrounding the tumor. Based upon the stage of the tumor, postoperative chemotherapy may be recommended, which is administered by a medical oncologist.

In selected patients with limited spread in the liver or lungs, removal of the involved colon along with the tumor in the liver or lungs may be feasible. The recommendation for this treatment strategy is individualized based upon the extent of disease and overall clinical presentation of the patient. If this approach is chosen, it is common for postoperative chemotherapy to be administered. In the case that the tumor spreads beyond the primary tumor and it is not amenable to removal, surgery may not be recommended, in which case chemotherapy is often administered.

To learn more or to make an appointment with a Manhattan colorectal surgeon, email Manhattan Surgical Associates today.

Contact Us

We look forward to seeing you! Fill out the following form or call (646) 798-4606 and a helpful member of our team can return your inquiry shortly.

  • Please enter your name.
  • This isn't a valid email address.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please make a selection.