Ask your doctor to review the results of your barium enema with you.

  • Negative result. A barium enema exam is considered negative if the radiologist detects no abnormalities in the colon. If you had the barium enema to screen for colon cancer and you're at average risk — you have no colon cancer risk factors other than age — your doctor may recommend waiting five years and then repeating the exam.
  • Positive result. A barium enema exam is considered positive if the radiologist detects abnormalities in the colon. Depending on the findings, you may need additional testing — such as a colonoscopy — so that any abnormalities can be examined more thoroughly, biopsied or removed.

If your doctor is concerned about the quality of your X-ray images, he or she may recommend a repeat barium enema or another type of screening test.

Jun. 17, 2011