How bowel cancer is investigated
Symptoms of bowel cancer should be investigated through a combination of the following:
- Clinical examination of abdomen (tummy) and back passage
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure which will allow the consultant to examine the rectum and the lower part of the colon
- Colonoscopy investigation will allow the consultant to examine the entire large bowel including all of the colon and the rectum
- CT scan which may include CT colonography (also known as a virtual colonoscopy)
If an abnormality is found on examining the bowel, a biopsy is usually taken to make the diagnosis of bowel cancer. The biopsy will be examined by a histopathologist.
If the diagnosis of cancer is confirmed, further investigations are required to assess the size and extent (stage) of the cancer.
These will usually include a CT scan, and in cases of rectal cancer an MRI scan as well. Sometimes other investigations, including a PET scan and endoscopic ultrasound are needed.
you will need to seek medical advice.
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GP and request a referral to one
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Mrs Heather Blakemore