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Rectal Cancer Survivors Can Face Sexual Challenges

Aug 15, 2017

Rectal Cancer Survivors Can Face Sexual Challenges

Survivors of rectal cancer often experience sexual problems, which can be physical, psychological, or both.

Rectal cancer affects the rectum, a part of the digestive system located between the colon and the anus. After food is processed by the colon, waste products are stored by the rectum until they are ready to exit the body through the anus.

Surgery is one way to treat rectal cancer. In some cases, the cancerous tissue is removed and the healthy parts of the rectum, colon, and anus are sewn together. This process is called anastomosis.

However, if the cancer is near the anus, surgeons may create an opening called a stoma for waste to pass through. When a person has a stoma, he or she needs to wear a special waste collection bag. This procedure is called an ostomy.

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