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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

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Colorectal Cancer - Topic Overview

Screening tests can find or prevent many cases of colon and rectal cancer. They look for a certain disease or condition before any symptoms appear. Experts recommend routine colon cancer testing for everyone age 50 and older who has a normal risk for colon cancer. Your doctor may recommend getting tested more often or at a younger age if you have a higher risk. Talk to your doctor about when you should be tested.

The most common screening tests are:

  • Stool tests that check for signs of cancer, such as blood in the stool.
  • Sigmoidoscopy. A doctor uses a lighted scope to see the lower portion of the intestine. This is where most colon cancers grow. Doctors can also remove polyps during this test.
  • Colonoscopy. A doctor puts a long, flexible tube into your rectum and colon. The tube is usually linked to a video monitor similar to a TV screen. With this test, the doctor can see the entire large intestine.
  • Computed tomographic colonography (CTC), also called a virtual colonoscopy. A computer and X-rays make a detailed picture of the colon to help the doctor look for polyps.

Learning about colorectal cancer:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Ongoing concerns:

Living with colorectal cancer:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 21, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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