Rectal cancer is a type of cancer in which malignant cancer cells form in the tissues of the rectum. There is a range of rectal cancer treatments that can be carried out, varying concerning the cancer stage. This article will discuss the key stages of the disease and which rectal cancer treatments should be offered accordingly.
Stage 0 Rectal Cancer Treatment
Stage 0 is when rectal cancer has not grown further than the inner lining of the rectum. The rectal cancer treatment for this type of cancer is usually focused on destroying cancer, removing the polyp, local excision, or sometimes transanal resection.
Stage 1 Rectal Cancer Treatment
Stage 1 cancers are those that have grown deeper into the rectal wall layers but have not spread beyond the rectum itself. Stage 1 cancer is also cancer that were part of a polyp. During a colonoscopy, polyps can be fully removed and if the cancer was contained this may be enough. However, if the cells have spread further, additional surgery may be required.
If the cancer was in the rectum itself rather than a polyp, it can sometimes be removed from the anus. In other instances, low anterior resection proctectomy or an abdominoperineal resection may be required.
Further rectal cancer treatment is not typically required following these surgeries. If the cancer is found to be more advanced in the surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy may be required.
Stage 2 Rectal Cancer Treatment
Often, stage 2 rectal cancers have grown through the wall of the rectum and into the nearby tissues but not the lymph nodes. This rectal cancer treatment tends to use chemotherapy followed by surgery as with stage 1 cancer. Additional chemo is then given after surgery.
Stage 3 Rectal Cancer Treatment
Stage 3 cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes but not other parts of the body. Stage 3 rectal cancer treatment is similar to that of stage 2, although the order of treatment may differ.
Stage 4 Rectal Cancer Treatment
Stage 4 rectal cancer treatment is usually done on a case-by-case basis. Stage 4 is when cancer has spread to distant organs including the lungs or liver. Stage 4 rectal cancer treatment usually involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. There are many ways that this type of advanced cancer may be treated but it is usually something that will be tailored to suit individual patients.
Papillon+ Rectal Cancer Treatment
The Papillon technique was first developed to deal with clinical concerns regarding the treatment of lower rectal tumors and those unable to have radical surgery.
Papillon contact brachytherapy treatment can be used either by itself, for very early tumors, or in conjunction with EBRT & Chemotherapy for tumors staged T1-T3a with little nodal development. Ordinarily, this type of tumor would be suitable for radical surgery, and this would often include the removal of the anus leaving the patient with a stoma.
The Papillon+ system is able to deliver a high curative dose of up to 90Gy over 3 fractions directly onto the tumor. When Papillon X-ray Brachytherapy is used as part of a Watch & Wait strategy with a view to organ preservation, the need for further surgery or a stoma can be significantly reduced.