Rectal cancer screening
Hemorrhoids symptoms, pain, mucous discharge, itching, the appearance of swollen lumps, bloating and weight loss can all indicate malignant rectal disease but the most suspicious symptoms are rectal bleeding and change in bowel habits +/- the quality of the stool. Rectal cancer screening is particularly important for patients with these two symptoms. In cases of symptomatic patients screening means proctoscopy (rectoscopy): the endoscopic examination of the lower 6-8 inches section of the large bowel, rather then examination of the stool.
When is it needed to do rectal cancer screening for completely asymptomatic patients?
In two cases. First, when cancer is common in the family, second is if the patient had HPV infection. The former is obvious for all. Regarding the latter medical professionals have long known that HPV infection is able to induce cancerous processes in the rectum in both sexes (similarly to cervical cancer – cancer of the neck of the womb of women). The importance of screening lies in the fact that earlier the disease is discovered the better are the chances of curing it. The type of the screening is determined individually by the Proctologist for asymptomatic patients, according to their risk factors. This ranges from 'blood in the stool test' (fecal occult blood test) through standard anoscopy and rectoscopy to the so called high resolution anoscopy. This latter examination needs a sophisticated unique tool that is not widely available in Europe, but at our clinic.