Cancer Support Group

Friday, Sep 22nd

Last update:06:42:40 AM GMT

Home Cancer Colon Cancer Colon Cancer Rectal Examination

Colon Cancer Rectal Examination

A doctor will usually begin by giving the patient a rectal examination. In a rectal examination the doctor, wearing thin gloves, puts a greased finger into the rectum and gently feels for lumps. The doctor may then check the material collected from the rectum to see if there is any blood in it.

The doctor may also want to look inside the rectum and lower colon with a special instrument called a sigmoidoscope or a proctosigmoidoscope. This examination called a proctoscopy or procto – examination gives detailed information about half of all colon and rectal cancers. The test is usually done in a doctor’s office. Some pressure may be felt, but usually with no pain.

The doctor may also want to look inside the rectum and the entire colon (colonoscopy) with a special tool called a colonoscope. This test is also done in a doctor’s office. Some pressure may be felt, but usually with no pain.

If tissue that is not normal is found, the doctor will need to cut out a small piece and look at it under the microscope to see if there are any cancer cells. This is called a biopsy. Biopsies are usually done during the proctoscopy or colonoscopy, in a doctor’s clinic.

The prognosis (chance of recovery) and choice of treatment depend on the stage of the cancer (whether it is just in the inner lining of the colon or if it has spread to other places) and the patient’s general state of health. After treatment, a blood test (to measure amounts of carcino–embryonic antigen or CEA in the blood) and X–rays may be done to see if the cancer has come back.

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