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Surgery. 1996 Jan;119(1):51-5.

Association of rectal prolapse with colorectal cancer.

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Department of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8062, USA.



Although screening for colorectal cancer facilitates earlier detection and improves survival, cost-effective screening requires identification of patients at high risk for colorectal cancer. Rectal prolapse has not been clearly linked to colorectal carcinoma. Whether patients with rectal prolapse should be screened for colorectal cancer is therefore unclear.


We retrospectively identified 70 consecutive patients treated for rectal prolapse at a community hospital during a period of 16 years and monitored for an average of 4.4 +/- 2.7 years and 350 patients of similar age treated for chronic unrelated conditions in the same institution during a similar period. We determined their incidence of colorectal cancer and sought demographic correlates.


The prevalence of rectosigmoid carcinoma among patients with prolapse was 5.7% during the study. Only 1.4% of the comparative group had colorectal cancer. Thus patients with rectal prolapse exhibited a 4.2-fold (95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 16.0) relative risk for colorectal cancer over the comparative group (p < 0.02).


To the extent to which these patients represent the population of patients with rectal prolapse, routine initial screening of patients with symptomatic rectal prolapse by use of flexible sigmoidoscopy may be appropriate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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