Diagnosing Colorectal Cancer
Special tests to evaluate the colon and rectum are used to detect and diagnose colorectal cancer.
- A physical exam to assess your overall health, including a digital rectal exam (DRE) to evaluate the rectum for abnormal masses
- Fecal occult blood test
- A sigmoidoscopy to look inside the rectum and sigmoid colon for polyps or other abnormal areas that may be cancerous using a thin, lighted tube
- A double-contrast barium enema
- A colonoscopy
To determine for sure if you have cancer, some tissue will be removed during sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy and examined under a microscope. This test is called a biopsy. Your doctor may also request a CT or PET scan to see if other body parts are involved.