Rectal Cancer

Rectal cancer treatment at Scripps in San Diego

A smiling middle-aged Hispanic man represents the full life that can be led after rectal cancer treatment.

Rectal cancer treatment at Scripps in San Diego

Scripps provides exceptional care to prevent, diagnose and treat rectal and colorectal cancer. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Scripps Green Hospital among the best in the nation for gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery, including rectal cancer and other intestinal cancers.


We put the most advanced treatment technology to work for you, including minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery, and advanced radiology therapies that target gastrointestinal cancers while preserving healthy tissue. Our multidisciplinary, collaborative board of cancer specialists reviews every patient’s care plan to ensure you receive the best possible care from diagnosis to recovery.

About rectal cancer

Rectal cancer is an intestinal cancer that starts when cells lining the rectum begin to grow out of control. As with colon cancer, rectal cancer also may be called colorectal cancer. However, with rectal cancer, the cancerous cells develop in the lower six inches of the colon (also called the large intestine). 


Excluding skin cancer, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States. The risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 21 for men and about 1 in 23 for women. Fortunately, when colorectal cancer is found early, treatment has a high success rate.


Rectal cancer usually begins as a growth called a polyp on the inner lining of the rectum. Over time, some polyps can become cancer. The two main types of rectal polyps include:


Adenomatous polyps (adenomas)

Because these may change into cancer and are considered pre-cancerous, these polyps are typically removed. 


Hyperplastic polyps and inflammatory polyps

While these polyps are more common, they usually do not turn into cancer.


Cancer that begins in a polyp on the innermost lining of the rectum can, over time, grow into the deeper layers of the rectum wall and may grow into blood vessels or lymph vessels. If this happens, the cancer can then spread to other parts of the body.

Rectal cancer symptoms, diagnosis and stages

Rectal cancer symptoms may not appear during the early stages of the disease. But being aware of the signs and symptoms may help you recognize them sooner.

Treatment and clinical trials

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with rectal cancer — especially if it is not early-stage cancer — you need a team of specialized physicians with expertise in treating the disease. Scripps multidisciplinary teams fight rectal cancer using advanced treatments and therapies, including minimally invasive robot-assisted surgery and state-of-the-art radiation therapy.

Rectal cancer treatment locations

Scripps diagnoses and treats rectal cancer at numerous locations throughout San Diego County. From Chula Vista and La Jolla to Encinitas and beyond, our extensive network of cancer care centers includes:


  • Four Scripps hospitals on five campuses
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Specialty cancer treatment centers


Learn more about our gamut of cancer care locations in Southern California and the services offered at each. 

Support groups, services and resources

As leaders in rectal cancer care, we know what it takes to fight a winning battle. That’s why we equip our patients with the support and resources necessary to achieve their best possible outcome. From connecting you with support groups and services to empowering you with the latest resources and research, Scripps offers a comprehensive lineup to help you along every step of your cancer journey.

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