Anal Cancer Diagnosis
medical visits allow your doctor to do regular medical examination and evaluation of your anus, which allows him
to detect early cancerous lesions before they become cancerous. An anal Pap smear can help detect precancerous
changes. If you have pain or chronic rectal bleeding, your doctor may recommend an examination of your anal
canal. However, to confirm the diagnosis, the following tests will be performed.
rectal exam (DRE) - to examine
your anal cavity, your doctor may insert a gloved finger into your anal canal to detect abnormalities such as
bumps. This exam, however, is not sufficient to declare an anal cancer. It gives your doctor an idea of the
health of your anus so that he can proceed with other more specific tests.
Anoscopy – an anoscopy is procedure commonly performed to
visualize the anus, anal canal, and lower rectum. The method consists of inserting a lubricated instrument
called anoscope into the anus to directly view the lining of the anal canal and lower rectum. An anoscopy is
painless and requires no complicated preparations; however, for most patients, it is uncomfortable. Depending on
the severity of the disease in your anus, your health care provider may perform a sort of special anoscopy
called high resolution anoscopy (HRA); a form of anoscopy consisting of using an amplifier to get more detailed
images of your anal mucosa.
Ultrasound (Sonography) - In some cases, your physician may perform an anal
ultrasound to examine your anal tissue. During the procedure, he will insert a probe into your anal canal, which
create images of your anus, and eventually reveals fistula or formation of scar tissue.
Biopsy - Depending on the results of the exams, mostly if
lesions and tumors are found in your anal canal, your doctor may take sample of your anal tissue to be examined
under a microscope. Pathologists will examine the sample to confirm or exclude a diagnosis of anal cancer. In
case the cancer has spread outside the anus, it can be detected using a CT (scan) or MRI (magnetic resonance