NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Colon Cancer - page 15

15
NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Colon Cancer
Version 1.2012
Definitions:
Barium enema:
A test that
fills the colon with fluid and
air and then takes pictures
using x-rays
Colonoscope:
A thin,
long tube with a light and
camera used to see the
colon
Enema:
Injection of liquid
into the colon to clear it of
stool
Laxatives:
Drugs used to
clean out the stool in the
intestines
Virtual colonography:
A
test that fills the colon with
air and then uses advanced
computed tomography to
take pictures
Part 2: About colon cancer
Flexible sigmoidoscopy.
If you’ve never had polyps and your age is your
only risk factor, a flexible sigmoidoscopy is an option for you. This test is like a
colonoscopy except it only views and removes polyps from the sigmoid colon and
rectum. Enemas are suggested to clean out the lower gut, but a liquid diet and
drugs often aren’t needed. A sigmoidoscopy takes about 20 minutes to complete.
Stool test.
The guaiac stool test is the most common stool test for colon cancer
screening. It finds hidden blood in stool but can miss tumors that bleed a little or
not at all. The guaiac stool test is a screening option if you’ve never had polyps
and your age is your only risk factor for colon cancer. To prepare for the test, eat
only the foods your doctor tells you are okay. You may need to stop taking some
medications. For the best results, your doctor will collect three stool samples from
your rectum. If blood is found in your stool, you will need a colonoscopy.
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