Since the concept of total mesorectal excision (TME), fostered by Heald, for the surgical management of rectal cancer, a new standard for rectal cancer treatment has emerged. Advances in surgical technique, medical and radiation oncology, radiology, and pathologic assessment have made rectal cancer care a complex and shifting environment such that providing the highest standard of care requires expert and current knowledge of treatment options. In order to achieve consistently high standards of care, standardization of the process is needed in the form of the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC). The NAPRC is a newly established program developed with the primary goal of improving rectal cancer outcomes through a multidisciplinary approach. It is the expectation that the NAPRC will, in addition, improve awareness of rectal cancer throughout the medical community as a complex and high-risk condition best treated in specialized centers.
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