Colorectal cancer screening tests
Screening is the process of looking for cancer in people who have no symptoms of the disease. Several tests can be used to screen for colorectal cancers. These tests can be divided into:
Tests that can find both colorectal polyps and cancer: These tests look at the structure of the colon itself to find any abnormal areas. This is done either with a scope put into the rectum or with special imaging (x-ray) tests. Polyps found during these tests can be removed before they become cancerous, so these tests may prevent colorectal cancer. Because of this, these tests are preferred if they are available and you are willing to have them.
Tests that mainly find cancer: These tests check the stool (feces) for signs of cancer. These tests are less invasive and easier to have done, but they are less likely to detect polyps.