Rectal Cancer Diagnosis

At Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute, we know you want answers. We are committed to getting your diagnosis as quickly as possible.

An accurate diagnosis allows us to determine the most effective treatment for you. Most of our diagnostic tests for rectal cancer can be often be completed within one visit for your convenience and peace of mind.

Expert rectal cancer diagnosis at AHN

Our compassionate, knowledgeable team at the Cancer Institute uses sophisticated technology to diagnose rectal cancer and determine its stage (how severe it is). Here’s what you can expect from us:

  • Prompt services: We make diagnosis as easy as possible for you. You can get numerous tests done on the same day. We get you an accurate diagnosis quickly so you can start treatment as soon as possible.
  • Advanced technology: We use a variety of high-quality imaging and diagnostic resources to screen for rectal cancer, so we can locate the cancer with pinpoint precision.
  • Knowledgeable support: Our Navigation Team will walk you through the entire process, answering any questions and addressing your concerns. We also offer robust support services to treat the whole person.

Diagnostic procedures for rectal cancer

To get an accurate diagnosis, one of our rectal specialists conducts a physical exam and discusses your symptoms with you. We will perform diagnostic tests as needed, including:

  • Transanal ultrasound: We insert a small probe into the rectum to obtain images of the tumor. The procedure usually lasts five minutes, and although it may cause some mild discomfort, patients generally tolerate it well.
  • Biopsy or polypectomy: We often perform this procedure during a colonoscopy or with a smaller scope in the office. We use small instruments to completely remove small growths or remove sample growths within the rectum. You may be under anesthesia for this procedure, which does not require an incision. We analyze the growths to confirm a cancer diagnosis.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: A combination of X-rays and computer technology produces detailed images of the intestines, lungs, liver, and other organs.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Powerful magnets and radio waves give technicians a detailed picture of the rectum, lymph nodes, and other organs.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: This test uses a small, safe amount of radioactive material. Before the test, we inject a special radioactive sugar solution into your arm. A scanner captures images of your body. We can detect the tumor tissues because they absorb the sugar more than normal tissues do.

Rectal cancer treatment

You meet with your entire team of specialists shortly after diagnosis. They create a personalized treatment plan to fit your needs. Our treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and clinical trials. Find out more about our approach to treating rectal cancer.

Contact us

Call the AHN Cancer Help Line anytime at (412) NURSE-4-U (412) 687-7348 to schedule a cancer-related appointment or to just talk with our nurses about diagnoses, treatments, and side effects.

Monthly free cancer screenings

Early cancer detection saves lives. See AHN free cancer screening dates, locations and eligibility requirements for each screen offered.  Then, call to register for your free cancer screenings.