Colorectal Cancer:
Diagnosis And Staging

This page covers tests that are often used to help diagnose and stage colorectal cancer.
Depending on the symptoms you have, you may also be asked to undergo other tests and investigations.

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only
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Diagnostic Tests to Determine Cancer Type

Once the doctor is sure of an abnormality, the following tests are done to determine further details about the type of cancer present.

These tests are used to supplement blood tests such as the complete blood count (CBC) and certain tumour marker tests.

Biopsy

What to expect

Biopsy involves the removal of a sample of cells or tissues for laboratory testing and is the only definitive method to diagnose colorectal cancer. It is a way to evaluate a suspicious area in your colon to determine whether it is cancerous.

Typically, the biopsy will be done along with the colonoscopy (Link to Screening – Colorectal Cancer – Colonoscopy). It is important that you choose a doctor and clinical team that you are comfortable with to perform your procedure.

The fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy is generally used for colorectal cancer. This is a quick, simple test in which a thin needle is used to remove tissue or fluid for examination under a microscope.

For a few days after the biopsy, your abdominal area may feel sore and bruised. Don’t hesitate to talk to your clinical team about pain medication if you feel you might need it. The pain and bruising will generally subside in a couple of weeks. If it persists, please contact your doctor immediately.

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