Our expert says:
Gastroscopy is looking into the stomach with a fibre optic camera - for peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia/reflux
Barium meal is a test where they look at the stomach and small intestine, as well as colon - they give you barium to drink and then take an x/ray. The barium sticks to the sides of the bowel and is visible on x/rays - and so shows the outline of the bowel.
Colonoscopy is a fibre optic camera examination of the colon to check for cancer and polyps etc. Sigmoidoscopy is the same but does not go up as high as a colonoscopy.
If you have a family history of colon cancer, the best examination is to check a stool sample for occult blood, having a digital examination of the rectum and a colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy every 5 years after 50 years of age
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