Colorectal cancer remains the third most common cancer for both men and women, and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States annually. It is projected that 145,600 new colorectal cancer cases will have been diagnosed and an estimated 51,020 deaths from colorectal cancer will have occurred in 2019. It is difficult to estimate statistics attributable specifically to rectal cancer because, historically, much of the reporting for rectal cancer has been combined with colon cancer as the single disease entity of “colorectal cancer.”Overall, the incidence of colorectal cancer has declined over the past decades, largely because of risk factor modification and screening. However, the 18- to 50-year age group represents a unique cohort of patients in whom the incidence of rectal cancer has been increasing. In contrast to overall trends, rectal cancer incidence increased by 1.8% annually in younger adults between 1990 and 2013.
In an effort to ensure that patients with rectal cancer receive appropriate care using a multidisciplinary approach, the ASCRS collaborated with a multispecialty effort to develop the National Accreditation Program in Rectal Cancer to create educational modules and a set of clinical standards focusing on program management, clinical services, and quality improvement regarding rectal cancer.Because rectal cancer management involves multiple disciplines working in conjunction with one another, the surgical guidelines presented here must be viewed within that context and represent only a portion of the treatment necessary for the optimal care of patients with rectal cancer. Colorectal cancer screening, bowel preparation, enhanced recovery pathways, surveillance after curative treatment, and prevention of thromboembolic disease, while relevant to the management of patients with rectal cancer, are beyond of the scope of these guidelines and are addressed in other guidelines.5–9 A guideline focusing on colorectal surgery and frailty is forthcoming.