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Rectal carcinoma affects both sexes equally. It is most common in the 50-70 year old age group; however, any age from about the twenties upwards may be affected.
Rectal carcinoma accounts for about a third of tumours of the large intestine.
Possible predisposing factors include ulcerative colitis, familial polyposis and pre-existing adenoma.
The vast majority of carcinomas are adenocarcinomas.
Macroscopically, rectal carcinomas are usually ulcerating. Stenosing rectal carcinomas may occur at the recto-sigmoid junction. Rectal carcinomas may also be colloidal or papilliferous.