experience symptoms similar to those of colorectal cancer (see colorectal cancer symptoms), it is important to
see your doctor as soon as possible. Colorectal cancer can be cured in more than 9 out of 10 cases when it is
Physical exam – to start the diagnosis, your doctor will ask you
questions about your medical history and the symptoms you experience. It is important that you detail all the
symptoms and the time they occur. Tell your doctor all recent changes happening in your digestive system. If the
examination reveals suspicion of colorectal cancer, you will be recommended a stool test.
test - unlike many
other cancers, colorectal cancer can be detected early by less complicated examinations. Although simple, the
stool test can help your doctor detect presence of blood in your stool. In fact, even without signs of
colorectal cancer, this test can also be performed every two years as a means of screening for men and women
aged 50 to 74 years. In case of a positive result, other tests such as rectal examination, colonoscopy,
sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, ultrasound and CT scan will be performed to confirm the presence of the cancer in
Digital rectal examination
(DRE) - during a
DRE, your doctor inserts a gloved finger into your rectal cavity searching for abnormalities; the test
sometimes helps to identify a tumor in the rectum. Digital rectal exam is painless; however, some patients
find it uncomfortable. In addition, a digital
rectal examination cannot
confirm the existence of colorectal cancer; other medical techniques such as colonoscopy, barium enema and
sigmoidoscopy will be performed.
this invasive medical procedure
physician to examine the lining of your rectum and lower colon, using a sigmoidoscope - a hollow tube with a camera on the
end. During the
procedure, your health care provider inserts the sigmoidoscope through the rectum into
the terminal section of the large
colon) to visualize and analyze it. In case growths (polyps) are found, samples will be removed to be examined
under microscope to look for cancer cells (biopsy).
Barium enema - this
radiological examination allows your doctor to visualize your lower gastrointestinal (GI) segment
confirm presence of polyps after filling the colon with a contrast material containing barium.
procedure, the specialist injects the barium into your colon through a small tube placed in your anus. The
barium travels throughout the colon and lining its walls in order to make them clearly visible
on the X-ray picture. This is a
quick and painless test; however, it is less and less performed since the generalization of colonoscopy.
this technique allows the visualization of the inside of the colon in its entire length using a flexible fiber
optic. During the exam, your physician inserts through your rectum a flexible tube with a light called
endoscope. Unlike barium enema, colonoscopy allows your doctor to perform a biopsy of the tumor and removal of
tests - these days,
other tests such as ultrasound and computed tomography (CT) are used in the diagnosis of colorectal cancer.
These techniques allow your doctor to determine the stage of the cancer, and detect if it has spread to other
organs (metastatic colorectal cancer) such as the liver.