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Rectal Cancer Treatment and Radiation  

Rectal cancer refers to cancer that gets developed in the rectum. Rectum is the end portion of large intestine and is prone to several diseases, one of being cancer. If there are persistent complaints of blood in stool, constipation, weight loss, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fatigue and thinner stool, a medical consultation should be taken at earliest. 

Rectal cancers are treated with combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The doctors study each case distinctly and suggest the best options for treating rectal cancer. Depending upon the extent of the spread of the cancer, surgery in conjunction with other treatments is recommended for the patients suffering from rectal cancer.

This treatment involves using high-power beams of radiation for shrinking or eliminating tumours or cancerous cells. Beams of radiation damages the DNA of cancerous cells and prevents their multiplication. 

Radiation therapy is given to rectal cancer patients usually before the surgery or after it.  

treatment Procedures 

Initially the patient has to undergo a surgery for removal of major chunk of the tumour. Sometimes the tumour is large and its complete removal is almost impossible. Under such circumstances radiation is bombarded on the cancerous growth in order to kill it and also to reduce its size to considerable extent. Sometime such radiation is done in pre-operative stage (before the surgery) for better results.  

Sometimes rectal cancer radiation therapy is given post-operative (after the surgery) so that none of the cancerous cells remain behind to spread the malignancy further.  When the strong X-rays are beamed on the cancer cells they get destroyed completely. This is done to assure that there is no further proliferation of cancer cells.  

Internal radiation: 

This is one of the forms of rectal cancer treatment which is done on patients of older age. Those patients who have frail health and are unable to bear the pressure of surgery are advised to go for an internal rectal cancer radiation therapy. Radioactive materials are enclosed in small pellets that are inserted into the cancer or its surrounding area. Radioactive substance has the power to travel only to a short distance and so it does not affect the healthy cells. This method involves the insertion of pellets into the arteries that supply the radioactive substance through the blood vessels and prevent the further multiplication of the cancerous cells. 

External Radiation: 

This is a simple treatment where X-rays are directed on the cancer affected area through a machine. The patient is asked to sit in various postures so that the oncologist can direct the radiation beams precisely over the affected area. Rectal cancer radiation is also used in the early stages of the cancer to lessen the bleeding and pain.  

Side Effects: 

Some of the common symptoms of the rectal cancer radiation therapy are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, discomforted urinary bladder, and diminishing count of white blood cells. Most of these side effects can be controlled with further medication suggested by the doctors.