When it comes to dealing with cancer, it is what is it and you’ve got to seek the best care that you can.
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.
Understanding a disease is the first step toward finding the right care. Get the facts about rectal cancer, including the different types, how it starts and who’s at risk.
Did You Know?
MD Anderson offers clinical trials for all stages of rectal cancers.
Blood tests, imaging exams and even surgical procedures are used to check for cancer. Learn what methods doctors use to diagnose rectal cancer, as well as how they determine its stage.
BY Amanda Swennes
“I thought my activities would be very limited, and I’d have to stay on the sidelines,” he says.
But today, Loosier is playing golf, riding horses, chasing cows and enjoying life.“The colostomy was an adjustment, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined.”
To perform a colostomy, a surgeon creates an opening called an ostomy in the abdomen, then brings the end of the large intestine through the opening. This provides a new path for waste materials to leave the body while avoiding the rectum. A pouch worn beneath a person’s clothing collects waste.
Initially, Loosier was self-conscious about how he looked and anxious about being in public. He assumed everyone would notice that he was wearing a pouch. But the truth was, most people couldn’t tell.
“And if they did figure it out, they didn’t care,” he says.
Today, Loosier has formed a two-person support team to assist other MD Anderson patients who’ve undergone colostomies. Loosier and fellow volunteer and cancer survivor Billie Bond traverse the hospital hallways, meeting with patients before and after their surgeries to answer questions and offer reassurance.
“If we can walk into a room looking normal, it helps put people’s fears at ease,” Loosier says.
Those one-on-one interactions give him the opportunity to provide for others what he wishes had been available to him: someone to talk to.
Patient to patient
Natalie Gallagher, a nurse who teaches patients how to care for ostomies, says the patient-to-patient connection Loosier and Bond provide is a gift.
“Patients ask me, ‘What if my pouch falls off while I’m asleep?’ I tell them they’ll get used to the pouch and begin to trust it, but they don’t necessarily believe me,” Gallagher says. “But if they hear it from Marshall, they’ll know it’s true because he lives with it every day.”
That kind of connection can make the difference between someone getting back to living life and living in fear, Gallagher says.
“When we think about the future after this type of surgery, we tend to imagine the worst,” Loosier says.“But I’m still chasing my grandkids and having fun.”