Tests that examine the rectum and anus are used to detect (find) and diagnose anal cancer.
The following tests and procedures may be used:
Physical exam and history
An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
Digital rectal examination (DRE)
An exam of the anus and rectum. The doctor or nurse inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the lower part of the rectum to feel for lumps or anything else that seems unusual.
An exam of the anus and lower rectum using a short, lighted tube called an anoscope.
An exam of the rectum using a short, lighted tube called a proctoscope.
Endo-anal or endorectal ultrasound
A procedure in which an ultrasound transducer (probe) is inserted into the anus or rectum and used to bounce high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) off internal tissues or organs and make echoes. The echoes form a picture of body tissues called a sonogram.
The removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer. If an abnormal area is seen during the anoscopy, a biopsy may be done at that time.