Rectal Cancer Diagnosis & Detection
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Screening for Rectal Cancer
If you are experiencing any rectal cancer symptoms, consult your doctor as soon as possible. He or she may use several tests to determine the cause of your symptoms. To make an accurate rectal cancer diagnosis, your doctor may start with a blood test to check for high levels of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), which is common in people with colorectal cancer.
If you are 50 years of age or older, you are encouraged to get regular colonoscopies. During this minimally invasive procedure, the doctor examines the rectal area as well as the colon by inserting a tube into the anus. If the doctor sees a suspicious area, he or she will likely take a biopsy during this time.
Aside from blood tests and colonoscopy examinations, screening for rectal cancer may include the use of several diagnostic tools, such as a sigmoidoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, CT scan and a pelvic MRI (to stage rectal cancer, if detected).
Next Topic: Rectal Cancer Staging