The following screening tests can be used to detect polyps, cancer, or other abnormal areas:
- Fecal occult blood test (FOBT)
- Double-contrast barium enema - You are given an enema with a barium solution, and air is pumped into your rectum. Several x-ray pictures are taken of your colon and rectum. The barium and air help your colon and rectum show up on the pictures. Polyps or tumors may show up.
- Digital rectal exam
If your physical exam and test results do not suggest cancer, your doctor may decide that no further tests are needed and no treatment is necessary. However, your doctor may recommend a schedule for checkups.
If tests show an abnormal area (such as a polyp), a biopsy (the removal of a sample of tissue) to check for cancer cells may be necessary. Often, the abnormal tissue can be removed during colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. A pathologist checks the tissue for cancer cells using a microscope.
Learn more about diagnosing colorectal cancer at Miami Valley Hospital.