Rectal Cancer Information
Learn More About Rectal Cancer Information: Chat with Us | Email Us
What Is Rectal Cancer?
Rectal cancer is cancer that forms in the tissues of the rectum. The rectum is part of the body’s gastrointestinal (digestive) system. The digestive system removes water and nutrients from food and helps pass waste material out of the body.
The digestive system is made up of the esophagus, stomach and the small and large intestines. The rectum is the last several inches of the large intestine. When cells that line the rectum become abnormal and grow out of control, a cancerous tumor forms.
Understanding Rectal Cancer
Found most often in men and women over the age of 50, rectal cancer is among the most common types of cancer in the United States. It can also occur in younger people, though very rarely in teenagers. Smoking has been linked to rectal cancer, as have diets that are high in fat and low in fiber. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a low-fat, high-fiber diet is crucial for prevention, particularly if your family has a history of rectal cancer.
Types of Rectal Cancer
Different types of rectal cancer include:
- Adenocarcinomas are the most common type of rectal cancer. Adenocarcinomas develop within the mucus-producing glandular cells. These cells, when functioning normally, lubricate the inner walls of the rectum.
- Carcinoid tumors are a type of hormone-producing neuroendocrine tumor (NET). Although these kinds of tumors may develop anywhere throughout the GI tract, carcinoid tumors are more likely to occur in the intestines than the rectum. These tumors are typically slow growing and may at first appear to be a benign growth.
- Lymphomas are immune diseases that typically occur in the lymph nodes. However, this type of cancer can develop anywhere in the body, including the rectum.
Next Topic: Rectal Cancer Risk Factors