Tests for anal cancer

Your GP or specialist might arrange for you to have tests. They may arrange one or more of these tests.

You usually have an examination of your anus, a biopsy, blood tests and a CT scan to diagnose anal cancer. You may also have some of these tests during treatment for anal cancer.

Examination of your back passage

An examination of your back passage (rectum) involves your doctor feeling inside your rectum using their finger. 

Anal examination and biopsy

A specialist will examine your anus and the area around it. This test is also called an anoscopy or proctoscopy.

Blood tests for anal cancer

You might have blood tests to check your general health.

CT scan

You might have a CT scan to find out the size of the cancer in your anus and whether it has spread to other parts of your body. 

MRI scan

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. It uses magnetism and radio waves to create cross sectional pictures of the body. 

PET-CT scan

A PET-CT scan combines a CT scan and a PET scan into one. It can show where your anal cancer is and whether it has spread.

Ultrasound of the anus

Ultrasound scans use high frequency sound waves to create a picture of a part of the body. They can show up changes, including abnormal growths. 

Fine needle aspiration of lymph nodes

Your doctor might use a thin needle to take a sample of cells from the lymph nodes at the top of your legs. This is called a fine needle aspiration.

Last reviewed: 
30 Jun 2022
Next review due: 
30 Jun 2025
Json LD: 
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