The presacral space is the area between the rectum and lowest part of the spine. It's called the sacrum. A tumor is a growth in this area. The tumor can range from a cyst to a mass that invades nearby structures. It can be cancerous, but this is rare.
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A presacral tumor may be caused by:
- Problems that are present from birth
- Structural defects—can be caused by Currarino syndrome
- Other forms of cancer that have spread
Presacral tumors are more common in women.
You may not have any problems. In those that have them, symptoms may cause:
- Pain in the lower back, rectum, or pelvis
- Pain that spreads down the legs
- A feeling of heaviness
- Urinary incontinence
- Weight loss
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done, which includes a digital rectal exam. The doctor will feel for lumps with a lubricated, gloved finger in the rectum. You may also have:
Treatment depends on the type of tumor. Options may include:
- Surgery to remove the tumor.
- Chemotherapy —The use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It may given by mouth, shots, or IV. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.
- Radiation therapy—This may be used along with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy involves using radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
There is no way to prevent a presacral tumor since the cause is unknown.
America Cancer Society
American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
Canadian Cancer Society
Colorectal Cancer Canada
Hassan I, Wietfeldt ED. Presacral tumors: diagnosis and management. Clin Colon Rectal Surg. 2009;22(2):84-93.
Pappalardo G, Frattaroli FM, Casciani E, et al. Retrorectal tumors: the choice of surgical approach based on a new classification. Am Surg. 2009;75(3):240-248.
Presacral tumors. USCF Center for Colorectal Surgery website. Available at: https://colorectal.surgery.ucsf.edu/conditions--procedures/presacral-tumors.aspx. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP Last Updated: 1/29/2021