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Screening for Rectal Cancer

Screening for colon and rectal cancer saves lives. If you are over the age of 50 years, you should see your colorectal specialist for advice on screening for colon and rectal disease. Remember colorectal cancer can be asymptomatic, so screening will help pick these problems at an early stage thus ensuring early treatment and excellent outcomes


The doctor uses a longer, thin, flexible, lighted tube to check for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and the entire colon. During the test, the doctor can find and remove most polyps and some cancers. Colonoscopy also is used as a follow-up test if anything unusual is found during one of the other screening tests.



For this test, the doctor puts a short, thin, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum. The doctor checks for polyps or cancer inside the rectum and lower third of the colon.

Faecal Occult Blood Testing (FOBT)

There are two types of FOBT. One uses the chemical guaiac to detect blood. The other, a fecal immunochemical test (FIT), uses antibodies to detect blood in the stool. You receive a test kit from your health care provider. At home, you use a stick or brush to obtain a small amount of stool. You return the test kit to the doctor or a lab, where the stool samples are checked for the presence of blood.

Woman & Doctor

Other Screening Tests

Double-Contrast Barium Enema
You receive an enema with a liquid called barium, followed by an air enema. The barium and air create an outline around your colon, allowing the doctor to see the outline of your colon on an X-ray.

Virtual Colonoscopy
Uses X-rays and computers to produce images of the entire colon which are displayed on a computer screen.

Stool DNA Test
You collect an entire bowel movement and send it to a lab to be checked for cancer cells.

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