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.
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