Importance: The management of care for rectal cancer has undergone many changes and improvements in recent decades. A multidisciplinary approach to this complex disease is essential to ensure high-quality treatment and outcomes. Objective: To present a current, evidence-based approach to the multidisciplinary team management of rectal cancer with a review of the diagnosis, staging, and treatment of the disease by radiologists, oncologists, surgeons, and pathologists. Evidence Review: The literature review was conducted through online searches of MEDLINE and PubMed. Articles published between January 1, 2000, and June 2014 and pertaining to staging modalities, surgical approaches, pathologic assessment, and medical treatments of rectal cancer were considered. All studies were reviewed, with preferential inclusion of larger or randomized trials. The review focused on changing paradigms and current controversies in rectal cancer management. Findings: A multidisciplinary approach to the patient with rectal cancer includes many health care professionals. Although treatments continue to evolve and improve, clear evidence-based principles have been well studied. The important roles of various specialists must be acknowledged and utilized. Within each role, new and emerging treatment approaches require critical review by experts in their fields. Conclusions and Relevance: Many new technologies and treatment options will continue to advance the treatment of rectal cancer, further emphasizing the need for a multidisciplinary approach to achieve optimal care.
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