If your health care provider believes you may have anal cancer, you will need certain exams and tests to be sure. You should expect to be asked questions about your health history, your symptoms, risk factors, and family history of disease. Understanding your background will help your provider make a diagnosis.
Your provider will also give you a physical exam. You may have one or more of the following tests.
- Computed tomography (CT). During this imaging test, X-rays create cross-sectional images of the rectum, anal canal and the anal opening.
- Positron emission tomography (PET). This imaging test uses radioactive substances to help visualize function of the organs and tissues.
- Ultrasound. Using a probe that produces sound waves, your physician can obtain images of the inside of the anus or rectum.
Using a gloved, lubricated hand, your physician will check the anus for lumps.
Another procedure involving a scope, proctoscopy allows your physician to see further into the anus, rectum and colon than anoscopy.
Your physician will use a flexible, camera-equipped scope to look inside the anus, rectum and colon. The scope may also be used to take a tissue sample, known as a biopsy.
Patients will be contacted after a biopsy by a Markey team member to review results. Further management will be recommended at that time.
When you are diagnosed with anal cancer, it is common to feel a sense of urgency around starting treatment. However, in most cases, there is time to do the needed research to ensure that your diagnosis is correct. That may include getting a second opinion.
Our team of experts works together to diagnose, treat and prevent anal cancer, with a focus on individualized patient care.
Markey is among the best cancer centers in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, when it comes to advanced treatment options, survival rates and experienced providers. As the first and only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in Kentucky, Markey is able to serve many patients each year with rare and common cancers, including anal cancer.
Our specialized team is happy to work with your doctors and communicate to ensure confidence in your diagnosis.
Should I get a second opinion?
A second opinion can help to ensure that you will be getting the latest and most effective therapy for treating anal cancer. The following are common reasons for seeking a second opinion after your initial diagnosis:
- You are having difficulty understanding your diagnosis.
- A dedicated team specialized in your cancer type may not be available in your area.
- There may be uncertainty around the stage of anal cancer.
- You may want to learn more about different treatment options, including clinical trials and advanced technologies only available at an advanced center like Markey.
- Your health insurance requires a second opinion before continuing toward treatment.
Questions to ask when getting a second opinion
After receiving a cancer diagnosis, you may have a lot on your mind. Here are a few questions to keep in mind for your doctor when seeking a second opinion:
- Is there a chance that my medical problem could have a different diagnosis?
- Are there additional tests I should take before moving forward with treatment?
- Do you recommend any treatments at this time?
- What do you expect to happen if I wait or don't have the treatment?
- What are the side effects of treatment?
- How long are treatment recovery periods?