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Rectal Cancer

A highly preventable cancer, timely and regular screenings can go a long way in detecting it early when it is most treatable.

Why is Rectal Cancer Dangerous?

As its name suggests, rectal cancer refers to malignant tumours and growths in the rectum. Even though the rectum is closer to the anus, its close proximity to critical organs such as the bladder, prostate, uterus or vagina can cause surgical removal of polyps to be challenging.

If left untreated, cancerous cells in rectal polyps can metastasize and spread to other parts of the body.

Colonoscopy can be used to remove rectal polyps when detected in the early stages.

Rectal Cancer

Colorectal Practice is dedicated to the prevention, early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer.

To schedule a consultation with Singapore colorectal surgeon Dr Dennis Koh,
call 6262 1226 today.

What are Some Symptoms of Rectal Cancer?

Early onset of rectal cancer may not have any obvious symptoms. But some early warning signs that you should be on the lookout for include:

  • Sudden or unexplained weight loss
  • Narrow, ribbon-like stools
  • Anaemia caused by iron deficiency
  • Blood in stools
  • Persistent abdominal pain

Some of these symptoms may be caused by other less serious conditions such as ulcers or haemorrhoids (piles), but they should still be discussed with a doctor. Some symptoms may not develop until the disease has progressed and surgery then will be more complex and riskier.

How is Rectal Cancer Treated?

In rectal cancer, surgery may be performed before or after chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

The type of technique or operation that Dr Koh recommends will depend on the stage of cancer, position of the tumours and your general health.

Local Transanal Resection

This method is suitable for small tumours located near the anus and uses instruments inserted into the rectum. Additional radiation therapy may be prescribed if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

Anterior Resection

This procedure is performed under general anaesthesia and removes the upper part of the rectum with the tumour. The remaining part of the rectum will be attached to the colon to facilitate normal bowel movements.

Abdominoperineal Resection

This technique is used to treat tumours found in the lower part of the rectum. The rectum, anus and sigmoid colon are surgically removed via laparoscopic surgery using four to five small cuts.

Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery

This surgery uses a special magnifying scope and microsurgical instruments to remove tumours from the rectum through the anus.

Total Mesorectal Excision

This involves a laparoscopic removal of the entire rectum containing the tumour, and connects the colon to the anus directly for bowel movement.

Pelvic Exenteration

This is considered a major operation that removes the pelvic cavity, including the anus, rectum, urinary bladder and parts of the reproductive organs.

What are the Risks Involved in Rectal Surgery?

There will be initial pain after the operation, and this will be manageable with prescribed pain medications. Dr Koh discourages patients from consuming solid food within a couple of days after the surgery to allow the wound to heal better.

Some side effects such as bleeding and blood clots may develop, depending on the patient’s overall health and the type of surgery performed. In cases where the colon is reattached to the rectum or anus, there may be a leak stemming from a reopened incision, but this is very rare and can be fixed by surgery.

In the hands of a certified and experienced colorectal surgeon, these risks will be greatly minimized.

Our Surgeon

Dr Dennis KohConsultant Colorectal Surgeon

MBBS (Nottingham), MMed (Surg)
BMedSci (Nottingham), FRCSEd, FAMS

Dr Dennis Koh is a MOH-accredited and experienced colorectal surgeon; and currently the Medical Director at Colorectal Practice.

Dr Koh strives to provide a customized treatment plan for each patient, which allows for better outcomes. He also honed his skills in proctology abroad in Geneva, bringing a more diverse touch to his practice.

Dr Dennis Koh
Dr Dennis Koh

Dr Dennis Koh is a MOH-accredited and experienced colorectal surgeon; and currently the Medical Director at Colorectal Practice.

Dr Koh strives to provide a customized treatment plan for each patient, which allows for better outcomes. He also honed his skills in proctology abroad in Geneva, bringing a more diverse touch to his practice.

Comprehensive Range of Colorectal Services for Your Peace of Mind

Dr Koh tailors his treatment based on your lifestyle requirements and healthcare needs. At our colorectal clinic, we believe in providing personalized care as it allows for better surgical outcomes and creates a supportive environment for our patients.

For a detailed consultation, contact us at 6262 1226 or fill up the contact form below.

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