A recent survey revealed that more than 62% women all over the world end up with colorectal cancer. The number of lives claimed by this type of cancer is only second to the lives claimed by cervical cancer every year. Hence it is important to get a colorectal exam done regularly.
A colorectal exam or a digital rectal exam can be quite embarrassing but needs to be conducted in order to detect any pre-cancerous or cancerous tumors and cells in the body.Many women do not look forward to a digital rectal examination or DRE because of the awkwardness and discomfort associated with the procedure. The experience can be quite unpleasant but is important to ascertain tumor/s in the rectum.
Things Your Doctor Will Ask Before The Examination:
The doctor will check with you about your medical history as well as that of your family.He will also want to know if you ever had or still have hemorrhoids.When conducting the examination, your doctor will try and work his way around the hemorrhoids to avoid causing you pain and discomfort.Inform your doctor of any anal fissures or anal skin tearing that you have.
How Is The Digital Rectal Examination Done?
The doctor will ask you to take off your clothes and get into a hospital gown. You will be made to lie back down on the examination table and your feet will be put up in stirrups hanging from the ceiling. The doctor will lubricate his gloved fingers and gently insert one gloved finger inside your rectum. He/she will press the walls of the rectum using the finger.You might feel an uncomfortable pressure or even slight pain when the doctor puts his finger inside you. But keep breathing slowly and rhythmatically and the discomfort will soon disappear. Holding your breath will only cause pain. While the doctor will put one finger inside the rectum, he will place his other hand over your abdomen and press down lightly. This will be done to check for any abnormal growths.The examination will last for two minutes only.
Some women might feel a little sore for a couple of hours after the examination. But this is normal and the feeling will pass away quickly. You might even bleed a little but this is nothing to worry about.The digital rectal examination can detect only 10 percent of colon cancers. So your doctor will also ask you for stool samples to do a detailed test. Even slight presence of blood in the stool is enough for the doctor to make you undergo colonoscopy.
If the doctor detects any sign of tumors in your rectum then you will be sent for a detailed colon screening test. This test is referred to as the colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. The test uses a small camera fixed to an adjustable duct. This is then inserted into the colon.With the help of the camera the doctor is able to view the colon clearly on a television screen meant for medical purposes. He/she will look for any abnormal growths. This examination is conducted by giving the patient local anesthesia. Hence one doesn’t feel any pain.