Learning how to treat rectal tumors will depend on the type of diagnosis for the tumor. One major factor is the size and location of the tumor. Doctors will also look to see if it has spread or if it is blocking the bowel. Another consideration is the malignancy of the tumor, and in what stage the cancer is. The patient's general overall health is also a major factor in treatment options.
- Have surgery to remove the tumor. Most rectal tumors are treated with surgery. The type of surgery will depend on the type of rectal tumor. A polypectomy will remove a small bulging, or polyp, often during a colonoscopy. A local excision is used to remove a cancerous tumor or area that is strictly inside the rectum. A resection will remove an entire section of the rectal wall, sometimes part of the adjoining abdominal wall, and the lymph nodes. Pelvic exenteration is used to remove numerous organs in the pelvic area, if the rectal tumor contains cancer that has spread throughout the pelvis.
- Get radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Sometimes radiation is necessary to remove the cancer, either through high-energy external x-rays or internal radioactive substances. Chemotherapy can treat rectal tumors and cancer by using high doses of specialized drugs, through mouth, or injection.
- Consider targeted therapy. Clinical trials are underway, in which medication is targeted to only specific cancerous cells, instead of also killing off healthy cells, as in radiation and chemotherapy treatments.