How is Colon Cancer Diagnosed?
Colon cancer is best detected early, when there are still no symptoms. Screening for individuals with no risk factors to develop colon or rectal cancer starts at 50 years old. For those individuals with inherited risks such as those with significant family history, screening should start earlier. This is achieved through screening tests such as colonoscopy, fecal occult blood test with flexible sigmoidoscopy, barium enema and CT virtual colonoscopy.
On the other hand, if you are experiencing the typical symptoms of colon cancer or polyps, a colonoscopy would be the most appropriate test for you. If a polyp is found, it can be completely removed and sent to the laboratory to check for early malignancy. Removal of a benign adenomatous polyp prevents its progression to cancer. However, if a tumor is found instead under colonoscopy, a biopsy can be done quickly and safely to determine if it is malignant.