Medical Awareness >>   Rectal Cancer

Rectal Cancer


Rectal cancer originates in the rectum, the ultimate long length of the large intestine, and begins at the edge of the colon and ends when it reaches the short, narrow passage leading to the anus.

While rectal and colon cancers are similar in several ways, their treatments are considerably different. 

Rectal cancer survival rates have greatly increased over the last few years due to the advances in treatment.


Symptoms of rectal cancer involve:

  • Change in bowel habits like diarrhoea, constipation or increased frequency in bowel movements
  • Blood in stool
  • Narrow stool
  • Feeling that bowel doesn't release completely
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Weakness or fatigue


For a complete cure, surgical removal of rectal cancer is almost mandatory. Depending on its situation and stage of cancer, surgery may be achieved through the anus or through the abdomen. The surgery removes cancer, lymph nodes and a small portion of the rectum on either tumour side. Creating a colostomy (opening the intestine to a bag on the skin) is typically needed only in a very small number of patients. Minimally invasive surgical techniques may be used depending on certain features of cancer. Depending on the cancer stage, additional chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be offered before or after the surgery.

Fact sheet

Frequency: In India, men's annual incidence rates for rectal cancer are 4.1 per 1,00,000. 

PGC Resolution: Building knowledge, developing attitudes, and spreading awareness with practices regarding rectal cancer in the country.