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Rectal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)

Treatment Options by Stage

Stage 0 (Carcinoma in Situ)

Treatment of stage 0 may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage 0 rectal cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage I Rectal Cancer

Treatment of stage I rectal cancer may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage I rectal cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stages II and III Rectal Cancer

Treatment of stage II and stage III rectal cancer may include the following:

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage II rectal cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

Stage IV and Recurrent Rectal Cancer

Treatment of stage IV and recurrent rectal cancer may include the following:

Treatment of rectal cancer that has spread to other organs depends on where the cancer has spread.

  • Treatment for areas of cancer that have spread to the liver includes the following:
    • Surgery to remove the tumor. Chemotherapy may be given before surgery, to shrink the tumor.
    • Cryosurgery or radiofrequency ablation.
    • Chemoembolization and/or systemic chemotherapy.
    • A clinical trial of chemoembolization combined with radiation therapy to the tumors in the liver.

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage IV rectal cancer and recurrent rectal cancer. For more specific results, refine the search by using other search features, such as the location of the trial, the type of treatment, or the name of the drug. Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that may be right for you. General information about clinical trials is available from the NCI Web site.

  • Updated: March 2, 2015