NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Rectal Cancer, Version 1.2017
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
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
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
Survivor, Stage II