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The Utility of Digital Anal Rectal Examinations in a Public Health Screening Program for Anal Cancer.

Nyitray AG, D'Souza G, Stier EA, Clifford G, Chiao EY. The Utility of Digital Anal Rectal Examinations in a Public Health Screening Program for Anal Cancer. Journal of lower genital tract disease. 2020 Apr 1; 24(2):192-196.

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OBJECTIVES: There are no uniform screening recommendations for anal cancer. Medical practice guidelines are now available on the use of Digital Anal Rectal Examinations (DARE) for the detection of anal cancer; however, because screening can result in more harm than benefit, our objective was to assess the evidence for use of DARE as a public health screening tool. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a current critical appraisal of anal cancer literature using World Health Organization criteria for assessing the potential utility of a public health screening program. RESULTS: Digital Anal Rectal Examination satisfies most, but not all, World Health Organization criteria for a public health program that seeks to detect early invasive anal cancer in populations at high risk for anal cancer, most notably HIV-positive men who have sex with men; however, DARE is not appropriate when facilities for treatment are nonexistent. In addition, there are insufficient data on DARE sensitivity and specificity. CONCLUSIONS: The mildly invasive nature of DARE, limited likelihood of adverse procedure-related events, cost-effectiveness and patient acceptability, as well as wide availability of DARE support consideration of its integration into screening for populations at high risk of anal cancer, especially HIV-positive men who have sex with men.

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