Diagnosing Colon Cancer

Support Throughout the Diagnostic Process

Our physicians, nurses and support staff are here to advise you, listen to you and calm your fears. Your physicians will explain your diagnosis and compassionately offer suggestions for treatment and care. They’re here for you.

Also available for counsel, support and guidance are nurse coordinators, oncology social workers and a pastoral team. They’ll help you navigate through the system and provide additional assistance, including:

  • Social support
  • Spiritual guidance
  • Emotional support
  • Practical advice
  • Tips on coping

Call on them. They’re here for you.

Colon cancer is a preventable and treatable disease. Early detection is key.

Many cases of colon cancer can be prevented if the polyps that lead to cancer are detected and removed early. And your chances of cure are high if your cancer is found early.

Colon Cancer Diagnostic Services

Scott & White offers you excellent diagnostic services. We have invested in the most advanced diagnostic equipment available, providing precise images of your GI system to detect polyps and tumors early, when cure is most likely.

Our staff includes:

  • Nationally recognized diagnostic radiologists, who expertly interpret the images, providing your oncologists with necessary details for treatment planning.
  • Board-certified pathologists. Our physicians rely on them to expertly classify and stage tumors.

Scott & White offers a variety of methods used to detect colon cancer. Your physician may order one or more of the following tests.

Physical and Laboratory Tests

  • Physical examination and history. Your physician may begin with a thorough physical exam and medical history.
  • Colonoscopy. Using a long, lighted flexible tube (colonoscope), your physician will examine your rectum and entire colon.
    • You’ll need a bowel prep to clean out your colon prior to this procedure.
    • If your physician finds any polyps, he or she will remove them. Tissue samples will be sent to the laboratory for evaluation by a pathologist. The results will be sent electronically to your physician.
  • Virtual Colonoscopy. Using a long, lighted flexible tube (colonoscope), your physician will examine your rectum and entire colon.
    • You’ll need a bowel prep to clean out your colon prior to this procedure.
    • A computer will combine the images to form a 3-D image of your colon.
  • Flexible Sigmoidoscopy. Using a very small high-definition camera attached to a thin tube (sigmoidoscope), your physician will examine your rectum and lower colon.
    • You’ll need a bowel prep to clean out your colon prior to this procedure.
    • If your physician finds any polyps, he or she will remove them. Tissue samples will be sent to the laboratory for evaluation by a pathologist. The results will be sent electronically to your physician. You’ll need a colonoscopy.
  • Double Contrast Barium Enema. You’ll receive an enema with barium solution and air will be pumped into your rectum. A series of X-rays will then be taken of your colon and rectum. The air and barium will highlight the presence of any polyps.
    • You’ll need a bowel prep to clean out your colon prior to this procedure.
    • If polyps are detected, you’ll need a colonoscopy.

Blood Tests and Tumor Marker Tests

There are a number of blood tests your physician may order to help determine treatment options for your colon cancer. Your physician may also order one or more tumor marker tests. A tumor marker is a substance that may be found in a tumor or released from a tumor into your blood or other body fluids. A high level of a tumor marker may note the presence of cancer.

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Liver enzyme
  • Carcinoembryonic agent (CEA). For surveillance and follow up.
  • CA 19-9. Elevated levels of CA 19-9 may indicate colon cancer.

Imaging Tests

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