Cancer has gained more focus over the last few decades because of mass media and medical community, mainly due to its aggressive symptoms and difficult treatment. However, there is one form of cancer which is commonly overlooked by people because of its location and it is about rectal cancer.
Rectal Cancer is a type of cancer that begins at the opening of the anus which is also known as rectum. Most of the people who have experienced the symptoms of rectal cancer doesn’t want to discuss this situation to their doctors or the people that they are close with due to embarrassment.
RECTAL CANCER SYMPTOMS
Early detection of cancer is indeed important. Unfortunately, the symptoms of rectal cancer do not exist in the present early stage of cancer development. However, as the cancer progresses, it can produce a lot of symptoms.
The following are the most common symptoms of rectal cancer:
• Atypical bowel movements
• Irregular anus discharge
• Hard area or lump around the anus
• Anal bleeding
• Soreness or pain in the anus
• Itching and irritation in the anus
WHO IS AT RISK?
There are too many factors that can cause rectal cancer or increase the risk of its development, which includes weak immune system, smoking and frequent anus irritation.
These are the factors which increase the chances of cancer:
• Age: people who are over the age of 60, men under the age of 35 and women over the age of 50.
• Sexual habits: Both men and women who have engaged in anal intercourse and has changed into many sexual partners.
• HPV: Human papillomavirus increases the risk of many cancers, which includes rectal cancer.
• Immunosuppressive Drugs: people who takes medication in order to suppress immunity, such as people who undergo organ transplantation surgery.
HOW TO DETECT rectal CANCER?
• Digital Rectum Exam
The word digital in here refers to the digits on your fingers. During the examination, the doctor puts on lubricated gloves and uses their finger to search for the anal cavity and looks for any lumps and abnormalities.
Anoscopy is a small instrument which looks like a tube that provides a more detailed view of the cavity in the anus. The doctor inserts this tube in the anus and searches for any further anal infections, hemorrhoids, fissures, polyps or even tumors. This method is usually performed only if the doctor notices something which is not normal during the first digital rectum exam.
• X-rays, Ultrasound, Biopsies, CT scans and Pet scans
These procedures are all commonly used in order to identify rectal cancer. However, all of these methods are quite controversial due to the people who claim that it can only spread or cause cancer. Still, the best way to detect anal cancer is to get annual rectal exams even though it seems a bit uncomfortable.