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National Program of Cancer Registries - page 47 / 93

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Colon/Rectum Cancer Work-up

  • Physical examination

    • Digital rectal examination (DRE)

  • X-rays and scans

    • Barium enema

    • Computerized tomography (CT) scans of abdomen and pelvis

The initial work-up for cancer of the colon/rectum begins with a physical examination that may include a digital rectal exam. The digital rectal exam may document location and size of the tumor. Physical exam may also document status of lymph nodes and enlargement of other organs. Hepatomegaly, splenomegaly, or enlargement of other internal organs documents the need for further work-up that may identify metastasis. Imaging studies may document tumor size, location, and presence of metastasis. Barium enema may diagnose the cancer as well as document size and location. Computerized tomography (CT) scans of the abdomen and pelvis may diagnose the cancer, document tumor size and location, document lymph node involvement or metastatic disease.

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