Bleeding from the rectum (your anus or bottom when going to the toilet) can be one of the most unnerving experiences for anyone. Statistically, the reasons for such bleeding are usually benign like piles, however such statistics are of little comfort for patients who experience this symptom as rectal bleeding can also be the first ‘high-risk’ symptom of bowel cancer. Typically, the majority of such patients are also very well in themselves and the rectal bleed seems to have happened ‘out of the blue’. Quite understandably if this has happened to you, you would want a specialist opinion and if needed an endoscopy examination (camera test) at the earliest possible opportunity.
The new Rectal Bleeding Clinic at the Spire Regency Hospital, aims to be a ‘One Stop Shop’ for such ‘worried well’ patients like yourselves where a clinic consultation with a specialist colorectal surgeon is combined with an endoscopy examination on the same day to establish the cause for your rectal bleeding and in most instances reassure you before you go home. Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a relatively safe test that is well tolerated. An instrument (a thin tube with a camera and light on the end) is inserted into the rectum and lower half of the large bowel, which is where most colorectal cancers arise. A flexible sigmoidoscopy can detect cancers in this part of the bowel but can also detect other causes for symptoms of bleeding such as polyps (usually benign growths arising from the lining of the bowel) or piles. Often polyps can be safely removed at the same time and piles can be treated as well with rubber band application.
This Rectal Bleeding Clinic would be run by Mr Sajal Rai, Consultant Laparoscopic and Colorectal surgeon with a special interest in the diagnosis of bowel cancer. The clinic is a unique facility in the region offering prompt consultation, investigation and in most cases a diagnosis and reassurance, all on the same day. Self-referrals are accepted or if you are insured, you can ask to be referred by your GP after checking with your insurer that you are covered. After the consultation in most cases, you will proceed to a flexible sigmoidoscopy and be offered treatment during the same visit. If a flexible sigmoidoscopy is not appropriate, this will be discussed with you at the time. If further investigations are needed apart from flexible sigmoidoscopy, these will be booked on the day as well.