Rectal Cancer

Duke’s colorectal cancer specialists use the latest medical and surgical advances to detect and treat rectal cancer at the earliest possible stage. We are conveniently located in Raleigh and Durham, and have the advanced training and expertise to perform sphincter-sparing procedures that remove anal tumors while reducing your chance of having a permanent colostomy. We give you the personalized care you need to maximize your quality of life and your health.

Duke’s colorectal specialists in Raleigh and Durham use the latest medical and surgical advances to detect and treat rectal cancer.

Medical Advances in Rectal Cancer

If you or someone you know is concerned about rectal cancer, you need an experienced and skilled healthcare team. Our colorectal doctors and surgeons work closely with rectal cancer patients every day. Our researchers are renowned experts in identifying rectal cancer tumors. We lead the nation in testing new cancer treatment options, including the development of the targeted therapy Avastin, which shrinks tumors and extends survival in patients with colon cancer that has spread. We continue to test new therapies and explore genomics so we can provide you with more personalized treatment options.

Choose Duke for your rectal cancer treatment because we offer:

  • High-definition colonoscopies. We routinely use high-resolution imaging scopes to create clearer colonoscopy images that better detect, and allow for removal of polyps and cancer not seen with a standard colonoscopy.
  • One-day evaluations. As a first-time patient here, you will undergo a thorough, day-long evaluation and consultation. You will leave with a comprehensive cancer treatment plan that meets your needs. We can expedite the process even further if you bring with you the results of scans or blood work that was performed prior to your visit. If you need additional imaging or testing, we have conveniently located these services within our facilities.
  • A nationally ranked program. We are consistently ranked among the best cancer programs in the nation by U.S. News & World ReportWe are a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, and are part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving care for our patients.
  • Targeted radiation treatments. Sophisticated technology allows us to better target the maximum dose of radiation directly to your tumor while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. Because radiation is delivered more precisely, fewer treatments are needed.
  • Enhanced recovery reduces hospital stays and readmissions. Our physicians are national leaders in enhanced recovery, a program that minimizes pre-operative fasting, encourages immediate post-operative physical rehabilitation, and incorporates specialized pain management to reduce the stress of colon surgery. Duke research shows their enhanced recovery approach decreases post-operative complication rates, and reduces the length of hospital stays.
  • A comforting environment. Our Duke Cancer Center features spacious waiting areas, a Quiet Room, large infusion rooms, and a rooftop garden where patients — based on their cancer treatment regimen — can receive chemotherapy outdoors.
  • Access to clinical trials. You may participate in our ongoing clinical trials, which test new anti-cancer targeted therapies, new surgical approaches, and ways to minimize patient concerns, as well as common cancer-related symptoms, before they become widely available at other hospitals.
  • More minimally invasive options. Nearly 80 percent of surgeries are performed with a small lighted tube called a laparoscope, which is inserted in the body through small incisions. This minimally invasive method is used to identify and sometimes remove tumors. As a result, you’ll experience smaller wounds, less pain and scarring, lower incidence of infection, leave the hospital sooner, and recover faster.
  • A team of specialists. Our rectal cancer specialists — medical, radiation and surgical oncologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists, geneticists, specially trained nurses, nutritionists and social workers — meet regularly to discuss your care, collect opinions, and offer coordinated and advanced surgical, medical and follow-up care for your cancer treatment.
  • Hereditary cancer clinic. If you are at high risk for, or have a family history of rectal cancer, you may want to work with the genetic counselors in our hereditary cancer clinic to identify and reduce your risk.
  • Support to you and your family. Our comprehensive support services range from helping patients minimize the side effects of cancer treatment to coping with the emotional and psychological effects of diagnosis and treatment. View all of our cancer support groups in our event calendar.  



Finding rectal cancer early and obtaining an accurate diagnosis is key to your health. Several methods are used to detect and diagnose rectal cancers.

Ready for an appointment?
- call us at -