Rectal Cancer Clinical Practice Guidelines in OncologyNCCN Categories of Evidence and ConsensusCategory 1: The recommendation is based on high-level evidence (e.g., randomized controlled trials) and there is uniform NCCN consensus.Category 2A: The recommendation is based on lower-level evidence and there is uniform NCCN consensus.Category 2B: The recommendation is based on lower-level evidence and there is nonuniform NCCN consensus (but no major disagreement).Category 3: The recommendation is based on any level of evidence but reflects major disagreement.All recommendations are category 2A unless otherwise noted.Clinical trials: The NCCN believes that the best management for any cancer patient is in a clinical trial. Participation in clinical trials is especially encouraged.OverviewIn 2009 an estimated 40,870 new cases of rectal cancer will occur in the United States (23,580 cases in men; 17,290 cases in women). During the same year, an estimated 49,920 people will die from rectal and colon cancers.1 Although colorectal cancer is ranked as the fourth most frequently diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, mortality from colorectal cancer has decreased during the past 30 years. This decrease may be due to earlier diagnosis through screening and better treatment modalities.The recommendations in these clinical practice guidelines are classified as category 2A except where noted, meaning that there is uniform NCCN consensus, based on lower-level evidence (including...

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