How is rectal cancer treated?

Every patient at Miami Cancer Institute receives a personalized treatment plan put together by our team of medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists and interventional oncologists.

Our philosophy is to find the plan that not only treats the rectal cancer, but also fits you as a patient. Your care team will consider your specific diagnosis and type of tumor, the stage of disease, size and location of tumor and whether it has spread to other parts of your body. We also work closely with physical therapists, nurses, nutritionists and psychosocial experts to ensure we address any potential side effects of treatment.

Rectal cancer treatment often consists of a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Which treatments you receive will depend on how advanced your cancer is.

Surgery is commonly used to treat rectal cancer. This is often the only treatment needed if the cancer is caught early. If the cancer is only located in a polyp, your surgeon will be able to remove the cancerous polyps during a colonoscopy. If the tumor is larger or has spread, surgery may involve removing some surrounding tissue, part of the rectum, or lymph nodes.

Our renowned surgical oncologists have access to many types of surgical techniques and technologies, including minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery and robotic surgery. If you undergo surgery to treat your cancer, our specialists will work with you to provide a faster, less painful recovery process that involves fewer tubes and drains. Miami Cancer Institute is well-known for this enhanced recovery program, which aims to improve the patient experience before and after surgery.

In many cases, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be used before surgery to shrink the tumor. – This is called neoadjuvant therapy and it can help reduce the risk of the cancer returning.

Radiation therapies that may be used include:

  • External radiation therapy. This treatment uses a machine outside the body to send high-energy X-rays toward the cancer.
  • Internal radiation therapy. This treatment sends a radioactive substance into the cancer using needles, seeds, catheters or wires that your doctors insert directly into the tumor.
  • Proton therapy. This uses external beams to deliver high doses of radiation directly at the tumor while sparing surrounding tissue. In this treatment, protons are used instead of X-rays. Miami Cancer Institute is proud to be the first center in the region to offer this unique treatment.

The radiation oncology department at Miami Cancer Institute is well-known for having access to every form of radiation treatment available today, all under one roof.

Targeted therapy may also be used to treat your rectal cancer.

Tumor Board

Tumor Board

A multidisciplinary team of cancer experts including surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic reconstructive surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, genetic counselors, medical geneticists, social workers, patient navigators and clinical trials staff meet weekly to discuss select complex cases and determine the best course of care.

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials

Miami Cancer Institute can provide access to clinical trials not widely available elsewhere. Clinical trials find new ways to treat and diagnose cancer and are ongoing. If an appropriate trial is available, we will talk to you about the benefits and risks.

South Florida's First Proton Therapy Center

Proton therapy is a highly specialized treatment that directs proton particles toward tumors to destroy cancer cells while largely sparing healthy tissue and decreasing the risk of side effects. This sophisticated treatment is used only for certain types of cancers and in a limited number of individuals.

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