You can learn how to detect a rectal tumor at home, or at least some warning signs that should propel you to call your doctor for a complete exam. Many rectal tumors can only be found using specialized testing in the doctor's office.
- Do a self-check. Gently poke around back there. Does anything feel different? Do you actually feel a lump? It may be hemorrhoids, or it could be a tumor. Visit your doctor for tests to be certain.
- Look for signs of an internal rectal tumor. Warning signs that should cause you to immediately call your doctor for an internal exam include changes in bowel habits or appetite, blood in the stool, general abdominal discomfort, unexplained weight loss or tired feeling. Bleeding from the anus, itching around the anus, as well as these other symptoms, could also indicate an anal tumor.
- Get a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE). This is when the doctor lubricates a gloved finger and inserts it into the rectum, to feel for a lump.
- Get a protoscopy. A protoscopy is when a special instrument resembling a tube, with a light and a lens at the end, is inserted into the rectum. This can detect a rectal tumor and any other unusual growths in the rectal area. A biopsy can be taken at this time, as well.
- Get an anoscopy. This is similar to a protoscopy, only it examines the anus and lower rectum.
- Get an endo-anal or endorectal ultrasound. This occurs when a probe is inserted into the anus and/or rectum. Ultrasound waves bounce off of internal organs or tissues to create a picture. If a mass is shown, it could be a rectal tumor.