The first method is a stool test that checks your bowel movements for blood. The second method is a sigmoidoscopy exam, which looks at the lower part of your colon. The third option is a colonoscopy. It is similar to a sigmoidoscopy but with one important difference; the entire colon can be viewed.
Colonoscopy is the endoscopic examination of the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel. It provides a visual diagnosis and grants the opportunity to find ulcers, colon polyps, tumors, and areas of inflammation or bleeding.
A colonoscopy can be used to:
- Collect tissue samples
- Take out abnormal growths
- Screen test to check for cancer
- Screen test to check for precancerous growths in the colon or rectum
Men and women 50 years old and older should have a colonoscopy every 10 years.