Screening for colon cancer; Colonoscopy - screening; Sigmoidoscopy - screening; Virtual colonoscopy - screening
Colon cancer screening can detect polyps and early cancers. Such screening can find abnormalities that can be treated before cancer develops or spreads. Regular screenings may decrease deaths and prevent pain caused by colorectal cancer.
TOOLS OR TESTS
Several tools may be used, either alone or together, to screen for colon cancer:
The first method is a stool test that checks your bowel movements for blood.
- Polyps in the colon and smaller cancers often cause small amounts of bleeding that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
- The most common method used is the
fecal occult blood test(FOBT). Newer stool tests are called the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) and stool DNA test (sDNA).
The second method is a sigmoidoscopy exam.
Review Date: 11/08/2010
Reviewed By: George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.