Skip to Content

Rectal Cancer

Our Approach

MD Anderson's Colorectal Center cares for rectal cancer with a specialized team approach that is personalized, yet comprehensive. Your therapy is customized to meet your unique needs, providing the most advanced treatment with the fewest side effects.

Our rectal cancer treatment options include the most effective therapies, including proton therapy, intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and novel chemotherapies. Many of these are available at only a few cancer centers in the United States.

Advanced sphincter-preserving surgical techniques may help you avoid the need for a colostomy. If a colostomy is necessary, our specialized team of specially trained nutritionists and enterostomal nurses helps you make that transition.

Rectal Cancer Expertise

Many times, we can offer minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgeries to patients with rectal cancer. These minimally invasive techniques often help reduce pain, recovery time and time in the hospital.

If chemotherapy is needed to treat rectal cancer, we offer the latest, most advanced options. Our world-renowned team of colorectal medical oncologists directs your therapy to maximize benefit while minimizing the risk for impact on your body. If radiation therapy is recommended, our colorectal radiation oncologists specialize in treating rectal cancer with the most effective techniques.

MD Anderson has special expertise in advanced rectal cancer that has spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body. We offer novel chemotherapy and biological agents, as well as a dedicated surgery program with extensive experience in advanced disease.

Groundbreaking Research, Comprehensive Care

As one of the world's largest cancer research centers, MD Anderson is a leading center for looking into new methods of rectal cancer diagnosis and treatment. You benefit from the most advanced research, delivered as quickly as possible.

And at MD Anderson you're surrounded by the strength of one of the nation's largest and most experienced comprehensive cancer centers. We have all the support and wellness services needed to treat the whole person – not just the disease.

If you have been diagnosed with rectal cancer, we're here to help. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

Why Choose MD Anderson?

  • Minimally invasive and sphincter-preserving surgeries for rectal cancer
  • Advanced radiotherapy including proton therapy and intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)
  • Novel chemotherapy and targeted therapies for rectal cancer
  • Leading-edge diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopy including endoscopic ultrasound, endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoluminal stent placement
  • Clinical trials for all stages of rectal cancers

Rectal Cancer Knowledge Center

Treatment at MD Anderson

Rectal cancer is treated in our:

Find Your MD Anderson Location

Rectal Cancer Facts

More than 40,000 people in the United States develop rectal cancer each year. When rectal cancer is found early, chances are good it can be treated successfully. Colon cancer and rectal cancer sometimes are grouped together and called colorectal cancer.

The rectum is a part of the digestive system, also called the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The colon is the first 4 to 6 feet of the large intestine, also called the large bowel. The rectum is the last part of the large intestine, which ends in the anus.

Rectal cancer develops slowly and usually starts as polyps, which are overgrowths of tissue in the lining of the colon. Rectal cancer may develop within a polyp, but not all polyps contain cancer.

Rectal Cancer Types

More than 95% of colorectal cancers are adenocarcinomas. Approximately 90% of colorectal adenocarcinomas began as adenomas, which are a type of polyp that may become cancer.

If you have rectal cancer, it’s important to be seen by expert doctors. Call 1-877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center