Rectal cancer

Rectal cancer overview

You are at the center of everything we do at the Colorectal Cancer Specialty Clinic at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). Here, we surround you with a team of specialists who work together closely to provide expertly targeted, complete care and compassionate support throughout your treatment and beyond.

We guide you every step of the way, combining our deep clinical expertise in colorectal cancer with a commitment to meet your unique needs.

Why choose SCCA for rectal cancer treatment?

  • Experienced colorectal cancer specialists
    SCCA patients receive state-of-the-art care, from accurate diagnosis and staging to the latest treatments, from some of the world’s leading doctors. In fact, our doctors help define the national standards for colorectal cancer care. We treat many patients with nonmetastatic rectal cancer as well as a large number of people with metastatic disease.
  • Comprehensive rectal cancer treatment
    Our doctors are experts in the full spectrum of treatments rectal cancer may require. Based on the unique characteristics of your tumor, your team may recommend radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery or targeted therapy, all available here.
  • Rectal cancer clinical trials
    To give you access to the most innovative therapies, SCCA unites the leading researchers and cancer specialists of Fred Hutch and UW Medicine so you can take part in colorectal cancer clinical studies not available everywhere.
  • Where you're treated first matters most
    Studies have shown that patients evaluated and treated at a multidisciplinary cancer center, like SCCA, have better outcomes and that the first treatment you receive for cancer is by far the most important. Patients who begin treatment at SCCA often have better outcomes than those who started treatment elsewhere.
  • A national leader in cancer care
    SCCA is the leading cancer treatment center in the region and among the top nationally, according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • NCI comprehensive cancer center
    We are a comprehensive cancer center, a designation from the National Cancer Institute that reflects our scientific leadership and the depth and breadth of our research to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
Second opinions

If you’ve been diagnosed with rectal cancer, we recommend getting a second opinion before choosing where you’ll be treated. 

Though you can benefit from a second opinion at any time, it is most valuable when you are first diagnosed and have the widest array of treatment options. 

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) is home to the region’s only Colorectal Cancer Specialty Clinic, where our medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists and supportive care professionals come together weekly to discuss and care for people with rectal cancer as a team. During a single visit you get the second opinion of not one doctor but an entire group of specialists.

Talk with gastrointestinal cancer experts who understand your disease in greater depth than the general oncologists in your local community.

Call us at (855) 557-0555 to request an appointment for a second opinion.

How a second opinion can help

Getting a second opinion from doctors who specialize in rectal can help you:

Feel confident that your cancer has been accurately diagnosed and staged

Pathologists, radiologists and gastroenterologists from SCCA are experts in diagnosing rectal cancers and have access to the latest technologies to help ensure we know as much about your cancer as possible.

Consider state-of-the-art treatment options

A second opinion may identify better, more advanced or more aggressive options for treatment, including sphincter-sparing surgeries, clinical studies of new chemotherapies and advanced radiation technologies, such as proton therapy.

Understand the benefits of specialized, multidisciplinary care

The team of rectal cancer specialists from SCCA offers in-depth understanding of the full spectrum of treatments. We have first-hand knowledge of current research and a wealth of treatment experience.

Start with a course of therapy tailored to you

We focus on you, not just your cancer, when developing a treatment plan. We consider your goals, plans, beliefs, values and preferences to design your treatment holistically.

Learn whether genetics play a role

Your genetic make-up may have played a role in the development of your cancer, and it might impact your treatment. All patients who come to our Colorectal Cancer Specialty Clinic have genetic testing and microsatellite instability testing, which can identify a DNA-repair problem that leads to tumors. Some patients need further testing for a hereditary condition called Lynch syndrome. Depending on our findings, you and your family may benefit from SCCA’s Gastrointestinal Cancer Prevention Program.

Request a second opinion

We recognize that rectal cancer is serious. Getting a second opinion does not have to delay the start of your treatment. We aim to see you within one week.

To request a second opinion with an SCCA doctor, call (855) 557-0555.

Second opinions

If you’ve been diagnosed with rectal cancer, we recommend getting a second opinion before choosing where you’ll be treated. Though you can benefit from a second opinion at any time, it is most valuable when you are first diagnosed and have the widest array of treatment options. 


SCCA experts offer comprehensive care for rectal cancer, including advanced treatments and new options available only through clinical studies.

Many patients are seen at our Colorectal Cancer Specialty Clinic. At this clinic, all of the specialists who will be involved in your care will meet to design treatment that’s tailored to you. You will receive a multidisciplinary treatment plan in a single day.

Our goal is to see you within one week so you can start your treatment quickly.

A diagnosis of cancer can feel overwhelming. We have an experienced, compassionate team ready to help. There are many similarities between rectal cancer and colon cancer, but there are some differences in the ways they are usually treated.


At SCCA, you receive care from a team of providers with extensive experience in your disease. Your team includes physicians, a patient care coordinator, a registered nurse, an advanced practice provider and others, based on your needs. You also have access to experts like nutritionists, social workers, acupuncturists, psychiatrists and more who specialize in supporting people with cancer or blood disorders.

Clinical trials

SCCA was formed, in part, to bring promising new treatments to patients faster. For rectal cancer patients, this means more treatment options at SCCA than you might find elsewhere, including the chance to participate in one of many ongoing clinical trials conducted at SCCA and its partner organizations, Fred Hutch and UW Medicine.


There are many resources online for learning about your disease, as well as organizations that provide community and support for your cancer diagnosis. Health educators at the SCCA Patient and Family Resource Center have compiled a list of trusted sources to help you get started.

Screening and early detection

Colorectal cancer screenings allow your doctor to find and remove polyps before they become cancerous. If cancer has already begun, a screening gives your doctor the opportunity to spot the signs at an early stage — when the disease is easier to cure and before you would likely notice symptoms.