How Do We Diagnose Colon Cancer?
HOW DO WE DIAGNOSE COLON CANCER?
Your doctor may order the following evaluations/tests that examine the colon and rectum to diagnose colon cancer.
Physical exam and health history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient’s health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
Digital rectal exam: An exam of the rectum. The doctor or nurse inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into the rectum to feel for lumps or anything else that seems unusual.
Fecal occult blood test (FOBT): A test to check stool (solid waste) for blood that can only be seen with a microscope. A small sample of stool is placed on a special card or in a special container and returned to the doctor or laboratory for testing. Blood in the stool may be a sign of polyps, cancer, or other conditions. There are two types of FOBTs:
ï Guaiac FOBT: The sample of stool on the special card is tested with a chemical. If there is blood in the stool, the special card changes color.
ï Immunochemical FOBT: A liquid is added to the stool sample. This mixture is injected into a machine that contains antibodies that can detect blood in the stool. If there is blood in the stool, a line appears in a window in the machine. This test is also called fecal immunochemical test or FIT.
Barium enema: A series of x-rays of the lower gastrointestinal tract. A liquid that contains barium (a silver-white metallic compound) is put into the rectum. The barium coats the lower gastrointestinal tract and x-rays are taken. This procedure is also called a lower GI series. During the Barium enema procedure the patient lies on an x-ray table. Barium liquid is put into the rectum and flows through the colon. X-rays are taken to look for abnormal areas.
Sigmoidoscopy: A procedure to look inside the rectum and sigmoid (lower) colon for polyps (small areas of bulging tissue), other abnormal areas, or cancer. A sigmoidoscope is inserted through the rectum into the sigmoid colon. A sigmoidoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove polyps or tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer. During Sigmoidoscopy a thin, lighted tube is inserted through the anus and rectum and into the lower part of the colon to look for abnormal areas.
Colonoscopy: A procedure to look inside the rectum and colon for polyps, abnormal areas, or cancer. A colonoscope is inserted through the rectum into the colon. A colonoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove polyps or tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer. During Colonoscopy a thin, lighted tube is inserted through the anus and rectum and into the colon to look for abnormal areas.
Virtual colonoscopy: A procedure that uses a series of x-rays called computed tomography to make a series of pictures of the colon. A computer puts the pictures together to create detailed images that may show polyps and anything else that seems unusual on the inside surface of the colon. This test is also called colonography or CT colonography.
In my opinion Colonoscopy is the best test since it can not only diagnose the precancerous polyp or cancer but can also provide an opportunity for biopsy or even removal of some polyps. It can also help us mark the site of the tumor for later removal or help us open up a blocked colon. Colonoscopy is strongly suggested as a life saving procedure for everyone over the age of 45 and even earlier in some selected case.
Khawaja Azimuddin M.D. & Tal Raphaeli M.D. & Jean Knapps M.D.
1125 Cypress Station Dr, Suite G, Houston TX 77090
Tel: 281-583 1300 Fax: 281-583 1303
Houston Colon & Rectal surgery PA
The Hemorrhoid Cente