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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 with a barium solution, and air is pumped into the rectum. The barium and air outline the colon and rectum on the x-rays.