If a person has been diagnosed with rectal cancer, the doctor should be asked the following questions:
Because a risk exists of rectal cancer coming back after treatment, routine follow-up care is necessary. Follow-up care usually consists of regular visits to the doctor's office for physical exams, blood studies, and imaging studies.
In addition, a colonoscopy is recommended 1 year after a diagnosis of rectal cancer. If the findings from the colonoscopy are normal, then the procedure can be repeated every 3 years.
Appropriate colorectal screening leading to the detection and removal of precancerous growths is the only way to prevent this disease. Screening tests for rectal cancer include fecal occult blood test and endoscopy.
If a family history of colorectal cancer is present in a first-degree relative (a parent or a sibling), then endoscopy of the colon and rectum should begin 10 years before the age of the relative's diagnosis or at age 50 years, whichever comes first.
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