About this disease

What it concerns

Rectal cancer often arises from polyps in the rectum. Clear causes for the development of rectal cancer cannot be identified. However, risk factors include a low-fiber diet, high alcohol consumption, smoking, and certain familial mutations and chronic inflammatory bowel diseases.

Symptoms and consequences

Rectal cancers often develop slowly. Symptoms such as altered bowel movements, flatulence or abdominal pain can also indicate milder disease, which makes diagnosis more difficult. If the disease is detected during a colonoscopy as part of colorectal cancer screening, it is often still at an early stage and therefore easily treatable. Colorectal cancer screening is therefore particularly important. Advanced cancer in the rectum leads to stool irregularities or fecal incontinence and can manifest itself in the form of bleeding from the rectum.

How we can help you

Examination and diagnosis

In addition to a tissue sample taken from the rectum, examinations are necessary to clarify the extent of the disease. This usually involves an ultrasound examination of the rectum, known as endosonography, as well as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the pelvis. In addition, a computer tomography (CT or PET-CT) scan of the chest and abdomen is performed to rule out the possibility that the cancer has spread and distant metastases are present.


During an interdisciplinary discussion of our tumor board, a decision is made as to whether surgery can be performed directly or whether the tumor disease is so extensive that radio-chemotherapy is necessary first. In this way, the tumor can be reduced in size and subsequently operated on more effectively. For this purpose, the surgical method of total mesorectal excision (TME) is the treatment of choice.

Responsible departments

Colorectal surgery


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