Any abnormalities, such as polyps, will show up as a dark silhouette on the X-ray film. If an abnormality is seen, a colonoscopy is usually recommended.
A barium enema is one of many tests that may be recommended as a screening test for colorectal cancer in people age 50 or over. A barium enema may be recommended every 5 to 10 years for people over the age of 50 years.Sources:
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, "Barium enema." National Institutes of Health November 2004. 19 Jun 2007.
American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. "Double-contrast Barium Enema (DCBE) or Barium X-ray." American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons 2003. 19 Jun 2007.
American Cancer Society. "Can Colorectal Polyps and Cancer Be Found Early?" American Cancer Society, Inc 2007. 19 Jun 2007.