Rectal Cancer

Future Research

Doctors all over the country are conducting many types of rectal cancer treatment clinical trials (research studies in which people volunteer to take part). Doctors are studying new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat rectal cancer.

Rectal cancer clinical trials are designed to answer important questions and to find out whether the new rectal cancer treatment approach is safe and effective. Research already has led to advances in these areas, and researchers continue to search for more effective approaches.

People who join clinical trials may be among the first to benefit if a new rectal cancer treatment option is shown to be effective. And if participants do not benefit directly, they still make an important contribution to medicine by helping doctors learn more about the disease and how to control it. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, researchers do all they can to protect their patients. People who are interested in being part of a clinical trial should talk with their doctor.

Research on Rectal Cancer Prevention

Recent studies suggest that certain drugs may help prevent rectal cancer. Researchers are studying aspirin, celecoxib, and other drugs in people with a higher-than-average chance of developing rectal cancer.

Research on Screening and Rectal Cancer Diagnosis

Researchers are testing new ways to check for polyps and rectal cancer. One study is looking at the usefulness of virtual colonoscopy. This is a CT scan of the colon. Another study is using genetic testing to check stool samples for colorectal cancer cells.

Research on Rectal Cancer Treatment

Researchers are studying chemotherapy, biological therapy, and combinations of treatments:

  • Chemotherapy: Researchers are testing new anticancer drugs and drug combinations. They also are studying combinations of drugs and radiation therapy before and after surgery.

  • Biological therapy: New biological approaches also are under study. Biological therapy uses the body's natural ability (immune system) to fight cancer. For example, researchers are studying treatment with monoclonal antibodies after surgery or with chemotherapy. A monoclonal antibody is a substance made in the laboratory that can bind to cancer cells. It can help kill cancer cells.

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