There are four basic tests for colon cancer: a stool test (to check for blood); a barium enema (x-ray) test; sigmoidoscopy (inspection of the lower colon; and colonoscopy (inspection of the entire colon). All four can detect cancers in the early stages, when treatment is most beneficial, but colonoscopy is the most accurate.
Reviewed last on: 1/28/2009
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; George F Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.