Rectal Cancer

Rectal cancer originates in the final portion of the large intestine, just inside the anus. The rectum prepares digested waste for elimination.

Symptoms of Rectal Cancer

When a tumor obstructs the passage of waste through the final part of the large intestines, you may experience a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Constipation or inability to have bowel movements
  • Diarrhea, possibly with blood
  • Bright red blood in the bowel movement
  • Pain with bowel movements
  • A sensation of a mass in the anus

Evaluation for Rectal Cancer

UT Southwestern Medical Center offers a multidisciplinary, expert-based team approach to diagnose and treat each patient.

You will be evaluated by a member of our rectal cancer treatment team, as well as by a multidisciplinary team that attends our weekly Gastrointestinal Cancer Multidisciplinary Conference. The team includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, gastroenterologists, surgical oncologists, and other surgeons specializing in rectal cancer.

We will discuss your needs and develop an individualized treatment plan that focuses on both the elimination of the cancer and the preservation of your quality of life.

Treatment for Rectal Cancer

Individualized treatment plans may include specialized colonoscopy (looking inside the colon with a camera), placement of a stent (plastic tube) to unblock the large intestine, surgical removal of the tumor, chemotherapy, or radiation. Localized rectal cancer is treated with surgery. Often, a course of radiation is completed prior to surgery.

We will determine if you’ll need chemotherapy based on the findings during the operation. If the cancer has spread to other organs, chemotherapy is often the first step in controlling the disease.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials may provide you with an opportunity to complement traditional therapy with the newest, most promising treatment strategies for challenging types of cancer.

How We’re Different

Our team of physicians and researchers has extensive experience with rectal cancer. You will benefit from our specialization, our individualized treatment plans, and our access to the most innovative, promising new therapies, including minimally invasive surgical techniques. 

Request an Appointment

For an appointment at our facility in Dallas or for more information about our gastrointestinal cancer services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.