Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Screening tests play a key role in detecting polyps before they become cancerous. These tests can also help find colorectal cancer in its early stages, when you have a good chance of recovery.

Screening methods include:

  • Colonoscopy, the most sensitive test for colorectal polyps and cancer. If polyps are found, your doctor may remove them immediately or take tissue samples (biopsies) for analysis.
  • Virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography), a minimally invasive test that uses a CT scan to view your colon. Virtual colonoscopy requires the same bowel preparation as colonoscopy. If a polyp is found, you'll need colonoscopy to have it removed.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy, in which a slender, lighted tube is inserted in your rectum to examine it and the last third of your colon (sigmoid). If a polyp is found, you'll need colonoscopy to have it removed.
Aug. 12, 2014

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