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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Rectal Cancer, Version 1.2017


Treatment planning

Medical history

Not all rectal cancers are the same. Your

cancer doctor will want to learn all about

the cancer you have. Part 2 describes the

tests used to learn about rectal cancer.

Based on the results, your treatment

can be tailored to you. This is called

personalized medicine.

Medical history

Your medical history includes any health events and

medicines you’ve taken in your life. It helps your

doctors decide if you can have surgery. It also helps

doctors assess if chemotherapy will do you more

good than harm.

Rectal cancer and other health conditions can run in

families. Thus, your doctor will ask about the medical

history of your blood relatives. It’s important to know

who in your family has had what diseases and at

what ages. You doctor may ask about the health of

your siblings, your parents and their siblings, and

your grandparents and their siblings.

Rectal cancer often occurs for unknown reasons.

However, some people have syndromes that

increase their chance of getting rectal cancer. A

syndrome is a group of signs or symptoms that occur

together and suggest the presence of or risk for a

disease. Some syndromes that increase the risk for

rectal cancer are passed down from parents to child


Lynch syndrome is an inherited syndrome. It’s also

called HNPCC (










ancer). It’s the most common type of inherited

syndrome to cause rectal cancer. It also increases

the risk for other types of cancer. Even so, only 3 to

5 out of every 100 people with rectal cancer have

Lynch syndrome.







olyposis) is a rare

inherited syndrome that often leads to rectal cancer.

However, only 1 out of 100 people with rectal cancer

have FAP. FAP starts with hundreds of polyps

forming in the colon and rectum. You are likely to

have cancer by age 50 if you have classic FAP. In

attenuated FAP, the disease starts later in life and

fewer than 100 polyps occur.

If you may have an inherited syndrome, you may be

referred to a genetic counselor. A genetic counselor

can talk with you about getting tested for syndromes

related to rectal cancer.

Remind yourself that you don't

have cancer, cancer has you! Take

control of the fight and decide to

win one day at a time. Embrace

the process and find your source

of faith.


Survivor, Stage II