Colon Cancer Home > Rectal Cancer Diagnosis

A colonoscopy is similar to sigmoidoscopy. A colonoscope (a thin, lighted tube) is inserted through the rectum into the colon to look for polyps, abnormal areas, or cancer. Polyps or tissue samples may be taken for biopsy.
Barium Enema
A barium enema is a series of x-rays of the colon and rectum. The patient is given an enema containing 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. If this test detects polyps or an abnormal area, other tests are needed to help make an accurate diagnosis.
A biopsy is the removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of cancer.

Rectal Cancer Diagnosis: Summary

If the physical exam and test results do not suggest cancer, the doctor may decide that no further tests are needed and no treatment is necessary. However, the doctor may recommend a schedule for regular checkups to monitor your health.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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