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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Rectal Cancer, Version 1.2017


Overview of cancer treatments


To join, you’ll need to review and sign an informed

consent form. This form describes the study in detail.

The study’s risks and benefits should be described

and may include others than those described above.

Ask your treatment team if there is an open clinical

trial that you can join. There may be clinical trials

where you’re getting treatment or at other treatment

centers nearby. You can also find clinical trials

through the websites listed in Part 7.




TME is a standard surgery used for many rectal

cancers. It removes the rectum and other tissue

through a cut made in your abdomen. Some

small rectal cancers may be removed with thin

tools inserted into your anus.



Radiation therapy most often uses high-energy

x-rays to treat rectal cancer. A large machine

precisely delivers the x-rays to the tumor. The

rays kill the cancer cells or stop new cells from

being made.



Chemotherapy stops cancer cells from

completing their life cycle so they can’t increase

in number.



One type of targeted therapy stops the growth

of new blood vessels into rectal tumors. Without

blood, cancer cells starve and die. A second

type of targeted therapy for rectal cancer stops

the cancer cells from receiving certain growth




Immunotherapy enables T-cells to start

attacking rectal cancer cells with dMMR or




Ablation destroys small tumors by freezing

or burning them. It isn’t often used for rectal




Embolization treats cancer by blocking blood

flow to the tumor and damaging cancer cells

with chemotherapy or radiation. It is used for a

very select group of people.



Clinical trials give people access to new tests

and treatments that otherwise can’t usually be

received. These new tests and treatments may,

in time, be approved by the FDA.