• Tests

    Tests for colon cancer may include:

    • FOBT Fecal occult blood test is when stool is collected and sent to the laboratory to be checked for the presence of blood which could indicate cancer.
    • Digital rectal examination using a glove and lubricant, where the physician may feel for a lump.
    • Barium enema may be recommended when colonoscopy is not available.  During this test a special white liquid is inserted into the rectum and X-rays are taken. This is not as accurate as colonoscopy. If this is used it should be combined with a flexible sigmoidoscopy  (flexible tube examination of the lower bowel, typically without sedation).
    • Sigmoidoscopy involved the introduction of an instrument into the rectum, called a sigmoidoscope, to look for a growth in the lower bowel.
    • A colonoscopy is where a scope or a flexible tube with a video camera at the end is used to directly visualize the entire colon.  You will be required to take a special solution to clean out your bowel.  You may go to the hospital or an outpatient facility where you may receive intravenous sedation.  This is not a general anesthetic.  It is called conscious sedation. You will be able to breathe by yourself.  Some people actually watch the screen during the procedure but many people sleep. 
      The best method of screening is colonoscopy as it is most accurate and allows removal of polyps. In addition to being a more sensitive test than an air contrast barium enema in detecting abnormalities in the colon such as polyps, cancer, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, colonoscopy also allows doctors to obtain biopsies and remove polyps through a technique called snare polypectomy. This technique involves a metal loop wire being placed around a polyp and an electrical current being applied to cut the polyp off and seal the base to prevent bleeding.

Enhancing lifelong health

The Canadian Digestive Health Foundation believes our ability to help establish, enrich and protect a healthy gut microbiota is the key to lifelong health