Rectal Cancer Specialist

Gabriel Akopian, MD -  - General and Colorectal Surgeon

Gabriel Akopian, MD

General and Colorectal Surgeon located in Pasadena, CA

Rectal cancer is the growth of malignant tumors in the rectum, the last few inches of the colon. The position of the rectum makes rectal cancer difficult to treat, but with modern technology, it can often be fully cured. At his office in Pasadena, California, Gabriel Akopian, MD, performs laparoscopic and robotic resections of the colon, two minimally invasive surgeries that are crucial in fighting rectal cancer. For more information, call the office or make an appointment online.

Rectal Cancer Q & A

What is rectal cancer?

Rectal cancer is the growth of malignant tumors in the rectum, the last few inches of the large intestine from the final segment of the colon to the anus. Rectal cancer is often difficult to operate on, due to the rectum’s position in the body relative to other vital organs, among other factors. It usually takes treatment before and after surgery to effectively fight it.

In the past, these obstacles meant that the long-term outlook was grim for someone diagnosed with rectal cancer. With today’s medicine, however, many cases of rectal cancer can be cured.

What are the symptoms of rectal cancer?

Rectal cancer needs to be caught as early as possible, so look out for these signs:

  • Constipation, diarrhea or extremely frequent bowel movements
  • Dark red or black blood in the stool
  • Mucus in stool
  • Narrow or painful stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Signs of anemia, or iron deficiency
  • A feeling like your bowel is never empty
  • Unexplained or sudden weight loss

Any of these symptoms is reason enough to see Dr. Akopian for an exam, but blood in your stool is a sign that things could be especially urgent.

Who is most at risk of rectal cancer?

It’s impossible to predict who will get cancer, but some groups of people are especially susceptible to cancer of the rectum, including:

  • The elderly
  • African-Americans
  • People with a history of colon cancer or polyps
  • People who have or had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • People with a family history of colorectal cancer
  • People with a poor diet or sedentary lifestyle
  • People with diabetes or obesity
  • People who smoke or drink to excess
  • People who have previously undergone radiation treatment

If you fall into one or more of these categories, you should be especially vigilant for any symptoms of rectal cancer.

What are the treatments for rectal cancer?

Treatment of rectal cancer depends on the stage and size of the cancer and usually requires more than one type of treatment. While chemotherapy and radiation may be necessary as well, Dr. Akopian specializes in performing laparoscopic and robotic colon resections to remove the tumor from the rectum.

Both procedures are minimally invasive while aggressively attacking the cancer at its source. Laparoscopic colectomies use a tiny camera and several small incisions to remove rectal cancer without creating a large incision, while robotic resections use a robotic console to give Dr. Akopian unparalleled precision in removing cancerous tissue.

If you’re worried you may have rectal cancer or would like to learn about treatment with Dr. Akopian, call the office today or make an appointment online.