Patient care diagnostic tools, tests, procedures
Tests for colon cancer
Physical examination rarely shows abnormalities though an abdominal mass may be present. A rectal examination may reveal a mass in patients with rectal cancer, but not colon cancer.
A fecal occult blood test (FOBT) may detect small amounts of blood in the stool, a possible indicator of colon cancer. However, this test is often negative in patients with colon cancer.
Finally, a positive FOBT doesn't necessarily mean the person has cancer -- "false positives" can be caused by some medications and other factors.
A blood count may reveal evidence of anemia with low iron levels. CT scan may show an abdominal mass though this test is not very good at detecting colon cancer.