Benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. They can be
removed by surgery. Cysts are benign tumors that contain fluid.
Malignant tumors may grow into the nearby tissues, organs or
If your doctor thinks you may be at risk for cancer, you may have some
of these tests:
Physical exam with a rectal exam where the doctor inserts a
lubricated gloved finger into the rectum to feel for lumps.
Hemoccult test to check stool samples for blood.
Sigmoidoscopy where a thin, flexible tube is put into the rectum to
let the doctor see inside the lower part of the colon.
Colonoscopy where a thin, flexible tube is put into the rectum to let
the doctor see the entire length of the colon.
Samples of tissue are removed for testing, called a biopsy.
Barium enema where liquid barium and air is put into the rectum to
see the colon on x-ray.
Blood tests to check blood loss and how well the liver is working.
If tumors are found, your doctor may order x-rays, CT scans and other
types of blood tests to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of the
After all of your tests are done, your doctor will talk to you about
treatments that are best for you. Treatment may include:
Surgery to remove the tumor. The kind of surgery will depend on the
location and size of the tumor. Often, the part of the colon with
cancer is removed.
Radiation therapy to stop or slow the growth of cancer. It is often
used after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that may remain.