Infographic: Innovative Rectal Cancer Treatments

High-Tech Help for Rectal Cancer

Rectal cancer is uniquely challenging.

  • Affects just the last 6-8 inches of the digestive system.
  • Location and presence of vital organs makes surgery uniquely challenging.
  • Advancements in treatment give hope to patients whose cancer would once have been untreatable.

5-year survival rates have increased 40% thanks to innovative treatments.

Relative survival by year of diagnosis (source:

Innovations continue to improve treatment.

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy

  • Delivers a single, high dose of radiation directly to the tumor site during surgery.
  • Careful placement of radiation shields protects nearby organs from radiation damage.
  • Used primarily for tumors that are large or have recurred after surgery.
  • Reduces risk of cancer recurrence.

Robotic Surgery

  • Surgery performed while surgeon sits at a console and uses controls to guide high tech surgical tools.
  • Allows surgeons to work in small spaces with three-dimensional visualization, and with more precision, flexibility and control than with conventional techniques.
  • Minimally invasive, fewer complications, quicker recovery, fewer urological complications and may reduce nerve dysfunction

Proton Beam Therapy

  • Uses a highly targeted precision beam to deliver radiation to a tumor and reduce radiation to surrounding healthy tissue and organs.
  • May reduce side effects for patients.
  • Especially useful for patients who have previously received radiation to the pelvis.

Improving quality of life post-surgery.

Coloanal anastomosis

  • Procedure that connects portions of the intestine after the removal of the rectum.
  • Helps avoid a permanent colostomy.
  • Offers patients a more normal life after surgery.

Ileoanal anastomosis

  • A cutting-edge, minimally invasive procedure.
  • Replaces the rectum in patients with hereditary rectal cancers and rectal cancer in association with inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Intestinal continuity is maintained leading to minimal changes to lifestyle and quality of life.