A doctor should be seen if a person has a change in bowel habits or if there is any bleeding from the rectum. A doctor will usually begin by giving the patient a rectal examination. In a rectal examination, the doctor places a gloved, greased finger into the rectum and gently feels for lumps. The doctor may then check material collected from the rectum to see if there is any blood in it.
Cancer of the rectum, a common form of cancer, is a disease in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the rectum. The rectum is part of the body’s digestive system. The digestive system is made up of the esophagus, stomach, and the small and large intestines. The last 6 feet of intestine is called the large bowel or colon. The last 8 to 10 inches of the colon is the rectum. The purpose of the digestive system is to remove nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, from food and to store the waste until it passes out of the body.