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Mayo Clin Proc. 1992 Mar;67(3):253-7.

Colorectal cancer: the case for barium enema.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905.


Both colonoscopy and barium enema are important techniques for examining the colon for polyps and cancer. They are approximately equally sensitive in detecting polypoid lesions of 7 to 10 mm or larger. A major limitation of colonoscopy is that the cecum cannot be visualized in 10 to 36% of cases. The comparable accuracy for detecting significant lesions, greater safety, and greater cost-effectiveness of barium enema favor its use in most patients.

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