2 Main Colon Cancer Screening Techniques

Most people don't want to think about colon cancer. It's a scary disease, and it can also be hard to talk about. But the fact is colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States, and you should know as much as you can about it.

Fortunately, colon cancer can be caught early through screening and treated before it has a chance to spread. This post discusses two colon cancer screening tests and explains how they work.


A colonoscopy is the most common type of colon cancer screening test. It is also the most accurate colon cancer screening test available. This test can find tumors and polyps as small as a millimeter wide.

Here, your physician uses a long, thin tube with a camera on the end to look inside your colon. The tube enters through your rectum and moves through your colon to the end.

This test can detect polyps, which are small growths on the colon that can sometimes turn into cancer. These growths can even form along the colon lining. If any polyps or tumors are found, they can be removed during the colonoscopy.

But not all polyps need to be removed because not all of them will turn into cancer. Your doctor can tell you if any of yours will. If your doctor finds a polyp, they'll give you specific instructions on what to do next.

Fecal Occult Blood Test

The fecal occult blood test, also known as the FOBT, is a simple test that can be done at home. It is also a non-invasive colon cancer screening test.

For this test, you collect a small sample of your stool in a container. You then send the sample to a lab to test for blood traces.

The FOBT can detect blood in your stool, which may be a sign of colon cancer. This test is not as accurate as a colonoscopy, but it can help detect colon cancer early. The earlier colon cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat. Colon cancer often doesn't cause any symptoms until it has progressed to a more advanced stage, so you're much better off if it is detected early.

The FOBT isn't as accurate as a colonoscopy, but it's still a good way to screen for colon cancer. It's especially useful for people who are afraid of having a colonoscopy or those who can't have one for some other reason.  

For more information, talk to your doctor about colon cancer screening