Published online Jun 7, 2008. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.3281
Revised: April 15, 2008
Accepted: April 22, 2008
Published online: June 7, 2008
Rectal cancer accounts for one third of all colorectal cancers. The age adjusted death rates from colorectal cancer have declined over recent decades due to a combination of colorectal cancer screening, improved diagnostic tests, improved standardized surgical technique, improved medical support, neoadjuvant chemotherapies and radiation treatment or combinations of these. Because of complex treatment algorithms, use of multidisciplinary teams in the management of rectal cancer patients has also been popularized. Medical gastroenterologists performing colonoscopies are frequently the first health care provider to raise the suspicion of a rectal cancer. Although the diagnosis depends on histological confirmation, the endoscopic presentation is almost diagnostic in many cases. In order to meet the patient’s immediate needs for information, it is important that the endoscopist has knowledge about the investigations and treatment options that will be required for their patient. The aim of this paper is to describe the modern preoperative investigations and operative procedures commonly offered to rectal cancer patients taking into account perspectives of three colorectal surgeons, practicing in the USA, Europe and Asia.