What is Malignant Melanoma of the Rectum?Malignant melanoma of the rectum is a rare type of cancer that develop usually in the 5th or 6th decade of life with chief complaints of bleeding from the rectum ,pain in the anus, and changes in defecation habits. It is a rare cancer that account for approximately 0.5-4% of all anal and rectal cancers. Malignant melanoma of the rectum has the tendency to spread to the other distant parts of the body. It is more common in females than males. It shows poor prognosis (chances of cure) with overall 24 months to 5 year survival rate is only 10%. It is more common in Caucasians than African and Americans.
What is a Rectum?The rectum is the lowest part of the large intestine which is close to the anus.
Disease CausesThere is no well-known cause, however certain hereditary and genetic mutations along with certain risk factors such as cigarette smoking, older age, obesity, lack of regular physical activity, low fiber intake, and excessive consumption of coffee, alcohol, and tobacco are considered responsible for the development of malignant melanoma of the rectum.
Signs and SymptomsMalignant melanoma of the rectum usually presents with signs and symptoms suggestive of primary rectal carcinoma. Sign and symptoms of malignant melanoma of the rectum as follow:
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Diarrhea alternates with constipation.
- Discomfort in the abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unintentional weight loss
- Persistent fever
- Constant fatigue
DiagnosisDiagnosis is made based on case taking and examination. For further evaluation following investigations are done.
- Digital rectal examination (DRE)
- CT scan
- Chest x-ray
TreatmentTreatment of malignant melanoma of the rectum remains uncertain. While surgical treatment may be indicated for some localized tumors. However, medical management is the primary goal of the treatment. The following treatment is considered for its management.
- Surgical resection (surgical removal of the tumor along with some healthy surrounding tissues).
- EBRT( External beam radiation therapy)