Like all cancers, anal cancer is most treatable when caught early, though even in its advanced stages, therapies have proven effective. Diagnosing anal cancer may involve any number of the following measures:
- Digital rectal examination (DRE) - An examination of the anus and rectum, wherein the doctor or nurse inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to feel for any abnormalities.
- Anoscopy - Examining the lower rectum and anus with a short, lighted tube called an anoscope.
- Proctoscopy - Examining the lower rectum and anus with a short, lighted tube called a proctoscope.
- Endo-anal or endorectal ultrasound - Using an ultrasound transducer probe inserted into the rectum and to create detailed sonogram images from inside the digestive cavity.
- Biopsy - The removal of cells or tissues to be examined for the presence of cancer.