Call Icon
Call Anytime 818 847 7067

In-Depth Understanding of Rectal Cancer: Adenocarcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Beyond

Connect with Armen Gregorian, MD - Your pathway to better health is just one call or message away.
BY: ARMEN GREGORIAN | November 9, 2023 | Rectal Prolapse

Welcome to a comprehensive exploration of rectal cancer, where we will delve into the intricacies of this condition. Rectal cancer comes in various forms, but two primary types, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, deserve special attention due to their prevalence and distinct characteristics. In this article, we will provide a detailed overview of these two types, along with a glimpse into some rarer forms of rectal cancer.

Adenocarcinoma: The Predominant Villain

Adenocarcinoma is the most frequently occurring type of rectal cancer, accounting for the majority of cases. This insidious cancer originates in the glandular cells lining the inner surface of the rectum. These cells are responsible for producing mucus, which aids in the passage of stool. While the precise cause of adenocarcinoma remains elusive, several risk factors have been identified, including a family history of colorectal cancer, smoking, and a diet rich in processed foods.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma: The Less Common Foe

In stark contrast to adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the rectum is less prevalent but equally important to understand. This type of cancer begins in the flat, thin cells that line the rectal surface. Despite its lower incidence, squamous cell carcinoma often presents as a more aggressive form of rectal cancer upon diagnosis. Chronic inflammation of the rectum, infections, and specific sexually transmitted diseases are potential risk factors for its development.

Other Varieties of Rectal Cancer

Beyond adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, several rarer forms of rectal cancer exist, each with its own unique attributes:

Neuroendocrine Tumors: The Enigmatic Entities: Neuroendocrine tumors, although relatively rare, can develop in the rectum. These tumors originate from neuroendocrine cells, which are responsible for hormone production and regulation. Symptoms associated with neuroendocrine tumors can vary widely, making early diagnosis and treatment challenging.

Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors (GISTs): The Uncommon Intruders: Gastrointestinal stromal tumors have the potential to affect the rectum, though they are more commonly found in the stomach and small intestine. These tumors originate from specialized cells known as interstitial cells of Cajal within the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms may manifest as abdominal pain, bleeding, or the presence of a palpable mass.

Lymphoma: The Rare Anomaly: While lymphoma typically originates in the lymphatic system, it can, on rare occasions, affect the rectum. Lymphoma in the rectum is a rarity, and its diagnosis and treatment can be particularly complex and challenging.


In conclusion, rectal cancer is a multifaceted condition with various manifestations, and understanding these distinctions is pivotal for early detection and effective treatment. Adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the predominant players, but the lesser-known neuroendocrine tumors, gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), and rectal lymphomas should not be overlooked.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms such as rectal bleeding, changes in bowel habits, or unexplained abdominal pain, it is imperative to seek immediate medical attention with a rectal cancer specialist in Los Angeles. Early detection can significantly impact prognosis and treatment options. Stay informed, remain vigilant, and prioritize your health with Dr. Armen Gregorian, MD.

Top Icon
Mail Icon
Contact Us
Mail Icon

    By clicking submit, you are agreeing to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy