Colon Cancer Screening
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT)
Sometimes cancers or polyps in the colon bleed. The FOBT can detect tiny amounts of blood in the stool; if this test detects blood, other tests are needed to determine its source. Other conditions, like hemorrhoids, can also cause blood in the stool.
During a sigmoidoscopy, the doctor checks inside the rectum and lower (sigmoid) colon with a lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope. If polyps are found, the doctor removes them. The procedure to remove polyps is called a polypectomy.
During a colonoscopy for colon cancer screening, the doctor examines inside the rectum and entire colon using a long, lighted tube called a colonoscope. The doctor removes any polyps that may be found.
A barium enema is a test involving a series of x-rays of the colon and rectum. The patient is given an enema that contains a barium solution, and air is pumped into the rectum. The barium and air outline the colon and rectum on the x-rays. Polyps may show up on the x-ray.