An update on rectal cancer beginning at the Cancer Institute Adyar on February 3 will focus on the multi-modal management of what is the tenth most common form of cancer in Chennai.

According to doctors at the institute, the crude incidence rate of rectal cancer at the Madras Metropolitan Tumour Registry is 3.5 cases per lakh of the population among men and 2.5 cases per lakh of population among women. The leading cancers among men are lung (incidence of 12 per lakh of population) and stomach (11 per lakh) while among women they are breast (29 per lakh) and cervical cancer (18 per lakh).

The multi-modal approach to rectal cancer is especially relevant as a majority of patients are diagnosed with locally advanced rectal cancer that is not as amenable to surgical management as early stage of the cancer is, said A. S. Ramakrishnan, additional professor of surgical oncology and organising secretary of the event.

Though, historically, surgery was the standard treatment for rectal cancer, the rapid progress in medical research, advances in protocols and a better understanding of tumour behaviour has reshaped cancer therapy involving sub-specialities including radio-therapy, chemotherapy, radiology, pathology and psycho-oncology. This has produced improved survival and quality of life, besides reducing treatment-related adverse effects, said T. G. Sagar, Institute Director.

The three-day update seeks to provide a platform for leading international and national experts to share their expertise in the current modalities in the management of rectal cancers.

The international faculty includes Marc J Gollub (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York), Seon-Hahn Kim (Korea University Anam Hospital, south Korea), Jean-Pierre Gerard (Centre Antoine-Lacassagne, Nice, France), Angelita Habr-Gama (University of Sao Paolo, Brazil) and Philip Quirke (University of Leeds, UK). They will be joined by a national faculty of about 40 experts.

The update features five key-note lectures, a live surgical workshop, debates and panel discussions, organisers said.