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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Rectal Cancer, Version 1.2017


Treatment planning

Physical exam

To be tested, you must provide a sample of blood.

Using the sample, a pathologist can test your genes

for abnormal changes that cause these syndromes.

A medical history is needed for treatment planning.


Guide 1

for a complete list of care that is

advised prior to treatment. Some tests are for anyone

with rectal cancer while others are for a select group.

Physical exam

Doctors often perform a physical exam along with

taking a medical history. A physical exam is a study

of your body for signs of disease. To start, your basic

body functions will be measured. These functions

include your temperature, blood pressure, and pulse

and breathing (respiration) rate. Your weight will also

be checked.

During the exam, your doctor will listen to your lungs,

heart, and gut. Your doctor will also look at and feel

parts of your body. This is done to see if organs are

of normal size, are soft or hard, or cause pain when

touched. Cancer and other health conditions can

cause organs to become enlarged and hard.

Guide 1. Health care before cancer treatment


For what cancer stage?

Medical history

All cancer stages

Physical exam

All cancer stages

Total colonoscopy

All cancer stages

Complete blood count

All cancer stages

Chemistry profile

All cancer stages

CT with contrast

All cancer stages

MRI with contrast + CT without contrast

Used to stage if CT unclear or CT with contrast isn’t an option


Some stage II, III, and IV if CT unclear or contrast isn’t an option.

Sometimes used for metastases.


All cancer stages

RAS test

Stage IV

BRAF test

Stage IV

MMR or MSI test

All cancer stages