Rectal Cancer Screening
During a colonoscopy for rectal 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.
- People in their 50s and older should be screened
- People who are at higher-than-average risk of colorectal cancer should talk with their doctor about whether to have screening tests before age 50, what tests to have, the benefits and risks of each test, and how often to schedule appointments.
Several scientific organizations recommend regular screening test intervals as follows:
- Fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years
- Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years
- Colonoscopy every 10 years.