There were 969 cases of inguinal hernia repairs and 210 of colorectal carcinoma resection, treated at the Long Beach Veterans Administration Hospital between 1965 and 1970, reviewed. Two hundred one barium studies were performed, 65% of which were on patients over 50 years of age. Three polyps were found above the 25-cm level, one of which required operation. No case of colon carcinoma was detected. When clinical indications were present, the diagnostic yield from barium enema was twice that of when "routine" surveys were done. In the six cases of colon cancer (among the 210 studied), where a recent inguinal hernia coexisted, the symptoms were due to the cancer rather than to the hernia. The study does not support the use of routine barium enemas for the detection of occult colon carcinoma in patients with asymptomatic inguinal hernias.