Colon Cancer Diagnosis

Win the Fight Against Colon Cancer!

Colon Cancer Diagnosis

If a person has any signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer, the doctor must determine whether they are due to cancer or some other cause. The doctor asks about personal and family medical history and may do a physical exam. The person may have one or more of the tests described in the "Screening" section to assist the colon cancer diagnosis.

If the physical exam and test results do not suggest cancer, the doctor may decide that no further tests are needed and no treatment is necessary. However, the doctor may recommend a schedule for checkups.

If tests show an abnormal area (such as a polyp), a biopsy to check for cancer cells may be necessary. Often, the abnormal tissue can be removed during colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy. A pathologist checks the tissue for cancer cells using a microscope.

People may want to ask the doctor these questions before having a biopsy:

How will the biopsy be done? Will I have to go to the hospital for the biopsy? How long will it take? Will I be awake? Will it hurt? Are there any risks? What are the chances of infection or bleeding after the biopsy? How long will it take me to recover? When can I resume a normal diet? How soon will I know the results? If I do have cancer, who will talk to me about the next steps? When?

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