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What test is used to detect colorectal cancer?

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The main test used to detect colorectal or colon cancer is the colonoscopy exam, according to the American Cancer Society. A colonoscopy is a procedure where a doctor carefully exams the entire length of the rectum and colon with a colonoscope, which is a device that is flexible, thin and has a camera attached to it.

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Doctors can use other specific instruments that are fed through the colonoscope in order to biopsy or extract any suspicious material from the rectum or colon if necessary. Even though a colonoscopy is commonly done first to detect colon cancer, doctors may also order blood tests or perform a less complicated physical exam first, according to the American Cancer Society.

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