Early diagnosis of colorectal cancer gives you the best chance of curing your colorectal cancer. Your doctor will start by getting information about your medical and family history. They’ll also perform a physical exam. The doctor may press on your abdomen or perform a rectal exam to determine the presence of lumps or polyps.
Your doctor may run some blood tests to get a better idea of what’s causing your symptoms. Though there is no blood test that specifically checks for colorectal cancer, liver function, and complete blood count tests can rule out other diseases and disorders.
A colonoscopy involves the use of a long tube attached to a camera to examine your colon. This procedure allows your doctor to see inside your colon and rectum and note anything unusual. A colonoscopy also allows your doctor to remove tissue from abnormal areas so they can send them to a laboratory for analysis.
Your doctor may order an X-ray using a radioactive liquid called barium. Your doctor will insert this liquid into the bowels through the use of an enema. Once in place, it coats the lining of the colon and provides an outline so an X-ray can be taken.
CT scans provide your doctor with a detailed image of your colon. In the case of colorectal cancer, another name for a CT scan is a virtual colonoscopy.