Internal pelvic examination

I have now been in remission for one year and at each 12 weekly check I only usually have a tummy examination. This last time it was a new MALE doctor who asked if I minded if he did an examination. I was horrified when he asked me to remove all of my under wear bellow the watse.

This is the first internal examination I have had since surgary which was taken place 18 months ago. I wonder why now - Is this normal?

14 Replies

  • hi Tina

    ive no idea what is normal practice, but i always get an internal exam at check ups vaginal and rectal not pleasant, but worth going through for added reassurance


  • Yep, these seem to be standard practice - most women I know have them 6 monthly - not pleasant and I wonder what they can learn from these that they can't learn via CA125 & a CT Scan..... Be good to hear from other women on this subject, I think, especially if they are not having these examinations but also if they are, how frequent they have them.

  • Hi Tina, yes I get an internal examination,not on every visit, but I do expect it now . Hope that puts your mind at rest . Love Sue x

  • Hi Tina! Yep, I got an internal every visit for the first three years, then a feel over my tummy after that, then since the five year mark I get a CA125 if I request it .... I don't any more but can always tap back into the system if I have any worries. I think that is pretty normal

    All the best

    Wendy xx

  • I recently finished my second line treatment. I did have internal examinations before surgery but since then I have never had an internal, my oncologist just has a good feel over my stomach area. Now I'm beginning to wonder why not - I didn't realise some people did have this. Not that I'm particularly anxious to have one, they're not the most pleasant of things but I wonder if they could pick something up this way.


  • I have had chemo annually since 2007 and have not had internals since pre surgery? Mind you CA125 and scan results are probaly explanatory!

    Interesting tho


  • I have been in remission for 17months and have had internal examinations every time i have been for my check up,next one is in May. I also have a CA125 test .


  • Hi Tina

    Yep, me too. I see my oncologist every 3 months but I also see the gynaecologist every 6 and this is when I have my internal. Not pleasant but worth it just in case the litter b***er comes back. Hope all these posts have reassured you.

    Love Chris x

  • Hi Tina

    Yes I also have one of these lovely exams and last time my consultant did an internal scan as well.I am glad to have a female consultant though.

    Take care

    Charlie xx

  • Pretty much the same for me.. I have had an internal on every visit plus a tummy feel but only CA125 when I have been worried about a pain couple with a CT scan.

    On my last visit, my Oncologist told me that the chances of her finding anything this way now are just about non existent and it is really down to me knowing my own body.. just wish my body would just stop messing me around and settle down to some kind of normality! Mind you, with a cesarean type cut and also an up to belly button down the middle cut so I look like an upside down letter T is there any wonder I get twinges or at least that's what I try to tell myself.

    When I was in treatment I had concerns about breast cancer as no-one told me that the menopause makes things change in that direction too.. everything was fine but somehow have that area of your body probed and touched is far more personal to me.. I think it's because I spent about 3 years having investigations trying for a baby so having an internal 'down below' is nothing to me now..

    I have also had a man one one occasion.. he was lovely and very sensitive.. I just concentrated on talking to the nurse while he got on with his business!

    I always say to my partner Dave that I have no shame anymore in the respect and it is little price to pay for piece of mind.

    Gilly x

  • Thanks ladies, this topic has been interesting and up lifting, I guess some of our oncologists are more thourough than others. And maybe the ladies feel it totally unessasary to put us through that. It is reasurring though - does make you feel more looked after.

    Love Tina xxx

  • I must admit I have never had an internal I am on second line chemo , previous to this it was ca125 and a tummy examination and how I felt. Maybe because I didn't have a hysterectomy they don't do an internal, all interesting stuff love to allxxx

  • I'm like Nikki in never having had an internal and also no hysterectomy. I'm on fourth line chemo. I see my onc. every three weeks when I go to the hospital to pick up the chemo tablets and get my CA 125 result. I will see her again on Friday so I'll ask her as long as I don't put the idea into her head!!!

    Love Marilyn

  • Hi Tina

    I had a very similar experience to yours. I saw a new, young male doctor who wished to do an internal exam. Well I don't know who was more embarrassed as I don't think he realised that I had a colostomy. As I say, this doctor did not know me and clearly did not know my full history and as it was just a routine check up, I think they let the newbies practise their technique on us. Or maybe the younger doctors just do not have the experience to realise which patients to examine in this way and which to not.

    Regarding the more general topic of whether its normal to have internal examinations, I had both vaginal and rectal internal examinations from my hysterectomy in 1999, to the recurrence that resulted in my colostomy in 2005. (other than that one blip with the newbie). However I am unsure as to what part the internal exam played in discovering the recurrence.

    I was sent for an MRI scan because my CA125 was slightly raised at 30, but had had an internal at that appointment, so it was possibly a combination of the two. After the scan the surgeon who had examined me before said he could feel the tumor which was wrapped around my rectum, but that it was very subtle, so maybe he needed the scan to confirm what he thought he could feel at the first exam, or maybe the scan helped him to understand what he was now feeling.

    I am convinced that I had had this tumor for some time, I had been mentioning for months that i was constipated and was told this was normal and did I eat enough fruit and veg and drink enough water. So, I was not surprised to hear that I had a tumor round my bowel. However I did not make the doctors listen to what I was saying and at this point neither the CA125 tests or internal exams were showing any abnormalities, so no further action was taken. I think that if i had kicked up a fuss and demanded a scan this could have been diagnosed quicker.

    So, what I am saying in summary is that none of these diagnostic techniques are good enough on their own, and that you need a combination of evidence from different tests. And not underestimating our sense of knowing our own bodies.

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