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New home exam shakes adult colon cancer screening

New home exam shakes adult colon cancer screening

This undated product picture supposing by a Mayo Clinic shows a Cologuard test. (AP/Mayo Clinic)

 Starting Monday, millions of people who have avoided colon cancer screening can get a new home examination that’s noninvasive and doesn’t need a icky credentials many other methods do.

The examination is a initial to demeanour for cancer-related DNA in stool. But determining either to get it is a some-more formidable choice than ads for “the breakthrough examination … that’s as easy as going to a bathroom” make it seem.

On one hand, a examination could severely boost screening for a lethal illness that too few people get checked for now.

On a other hand, it could captivate people divided from colonoscopies and other tests that, distinct a new one, have been shown to save lives.

It competence even do both.

“It looks promising,” nonetheless a impact on cancer risk and presence isn’t known, pronounced Dr. Barnett Kramer, a National Cancer Institute screening expert.

David Smith, 67, a late clergyman from Northfield, Minnesota, shows a test’s potential. He has never been screened for colon cancer and his alloy ran by a options, including a barium enema or a range exam.

“He pulled out one of those unequivocally colorful brochures they have for all those procedures,” Smith said, nonetheless he had suffered an infection from a prostate biopsy years ago and didn’t wish another invasive test. When a alloy mentioned a new DNA test, “I said, well, pointer me up.”

The examination was authorized by a Food and Drug Administration final month and will be offering by medication during a Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where it was developed, and shortly nationwide. It’s called Cologuard and is sole by Exact Sciences Corp. of Madison, Wisconsin. Mayo Clinic and one of a doctors get royalties from a test.

Here are some things to know about it:


Many stream sofa tests demeanour for blood that could advise a tumor. Cologuard does this and detects DNA that could be a pointer of cancer or precancerous growths called polyps. People send a sofa representation to a lab where it is tested.

If a examination is positive, a subsequent step is a evidence colonoscopy. A skinny tube with a little camera is upheld by a vast intestine and growths can be private and checked for cancer. When this is finished for screening and precancerous polyps are removed, it can forestall cancer, not usually detect it. It requires celebration laxatives a day before to purify out a bowel.

A sigmoidoscopy is a identical range examination nonetheless usually looks during a reduce apportionment of a bowel and does not need full sedation.


The best magnitude of a screening test’s value is either it lowers a risk of genocide from a disease, and it’s too shortly to know either Cologuard will. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, that sets widely followed screening advice, has not nonetheless deliberate it.

For healthy adults age 50 to 75 during normal risk for colon cancer, a charge force backs 3 methods: annual sofa blood tests, a sigmoidoscopy each 5 years and sofa tests each 3 years, or a colonoscopy once a decade.


Cologuard was not directly tested opposite colonoscopy for screening nonetheless now is being marketed as an alternative. A vast investigate compared Cologuard to one of a comparison sofa blood tests and found it rescued 92 percent of colorectal cancers and 42 percent of modernized precancerous growths compared to 74 percent of cancers and 24 percent of growths for a comparison test.

“Colonoscopy is a bullion standard,” nonetheless a new examination “is flattering damn good” during detecting cancer, nonetheless it misses some-more pre-cancers than prior studies of colonoscopy show, pronounced Dr. Harold `Hal’ Sox, a Dartmouth highbrow who before headed a surety services charge force.

Cologuard also had a downside — some-more fake alarms. It rightly ruled out colon cancer usually 87 percent of a time contra 95 percent for a comparison test.

“One could demeanour during it and contend that’s a potion half empty, half full,” Kramer said. It leads 13 percent to have follow-up colonoscopies they unequivocally didn’t need — since they didn’t have cancer. Yet if a choice is to shade everybody with a colonoscopy in a initial place, Cologuard could equivocate 87 percent of them.


Cologuard costs $599 contra about $25 for stream sofa blood tests, and “you don’t know either we need to take it each year — intervals have not been tested,” Kramer said.

If we have a DNA examination each 3 years, it would be $1,800 — about a cost of a colonoscopy, that is good for 10 years unless polyps are found, he said.

Medicare covers a new examination nonetheless private insurers aren’t covering it yet.


Many cancer experts contend a best screening examination is a one that people are peaceful to get.

Colorectal cancer is a second heading means of cancer deaths in a United States and a fourth worldwide. More than 143,000 new cases and 52,000 deaths from a illness are approaching this year in a U.S. alone. Only about 60 percent of people endorsed to get screened do so now.

Dr. Kenneth Lin, a Georgetown University family medicine and former staff alloy for a surety services charge force, said, “You’d rather have some-more options than not, nonetheless we don’t consider there’s adequate information to announce this examination higher to any other test” since of a fake positives and miss of explanation that it will save lives, Lin said. “It really has some promise.”

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