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Cologuard®

Cologuard in the News

You may have recently heard about a new colon cancer test called Cologuard that is being used at many Gastroenterology practices throughout the US. Cologuard is particularly useful for people who are afraid of the colonoscopy procedure or have difficulty tolerating the colonoscopy preparation; however, they must meet eligibility requirements including family cancer history, known bowel diseases, and several cancer related syndromes. Gastroenterologists from coast to coast are sounding off saying that “Cologuard can never take the place of the gold standard colonoscopy procedure.” For more information about recent news coverage click on the links below:

CBS News: FDA Approves First DNA Test for Colon Cancer
WebMD: New Colon Cancer Test
Yahoo News: Cologuard News Coverage

What is Cologuard and How Does it Work?

Cologuard is a noninvasive colon cancer screening test for adults 50 years or older who are at average risk for colon cancer. It is important to understand that Cologuard detects cancerous cells but does not provide any preventive measures such as polyp detection that could progress into cancer over time. Cologuard uses advanced technology to find altered DNA from abnormal cells in the colon, which could be associated with cancer or pre-cancer and does not require any special preparation. To complete the test your physician will send you home with a Cologuard testing kit where you collect a single stool sample and mail it to a lab using a pre-paid envelope for testing. Once completed, your doctor will contact you to discuss the results.

The Gastroenterologists at GI-North prefer to use the colonoscopy procedure due to its high success rate in detecting cancerous cells in the colon without eliminating patients due to family history or illness AND goes one step further in detecting cancerous cells, polyps, and ulcers in the large intestine. If you are experiencing abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, or notice blood in your stool, don’t ignore it! Contact GI-North today and schedule a consultation to discuss your bowel problems – it could save your life.

Cologuard Eligibility

As previously mentioned, Cologuard is not for everyone. To be eligible you must NOT have a history of ANY points mentioned below:

  • No personal history of colon cancer, polyps, or other related cancers.
  • No family history of colon cancer.
  • No positive result for another screening method in the last six months.
  • Not diagnosed with a condition that places you at high risk for colon cancer. These include but are not limited to: Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Chronic ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Familial adenomatous polyposis.
  • Not diagnosed with a relevant cancer syndrome passed on from your family, such as Hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome, MYH-Associated Polyposis, Gardner’s syndrome, Turcot’s (or Crail’s) syndrome, Cowden’s syndrome, Juvenile Polyposis, Cronkhite-Canada syndrome, Neurofibromatosis, or Familial Hyperplastic Polyposis.

How Effective is Cologuard?

In a 10,000-patient clinical study, Cologuard found 92% of colon cancers. It also found 69% of high-risk pre-cancers (high-grade dysplasia), those most likely to develop into cancer.
Both false positives and false negatives do occur. In a clinical study of Cologuard, 13% of people without cancer or pre-cancer tested positive. Any positive should be followed by a diagnostic colonoscopy. Following a negative result, patients should continue participating in a screening program at an interval and with a method appropriate for the individual patient. Cologuard performance when used for repeat testing has not been evaluated or established.

Is Cologuard Right for You?

Colon cancer is one of the most preventable, yet least prevented, cancers in the US today. It is the third most diagnosed cancer, and second leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women 50 years of age and older. Despite these facts, colon cancer is one of the most treatable cancers if it is found early through screening. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, regular screening is worthwhile because it can save your life. The Gastroenterologists at GI-North will make a determination as to whether or not you are a candidate for a Cologuard screening based on your own personal health history. Don’t be a statistic, make an appointment today for a colon cancer screening!

GI-North is conveniently located in Cumming, GA treating patients from all over north Georgia including Dahlonega, Dawsonville, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Milton, Suwanee, Duluth and Canton. For more information call 404/446-0600 to schedule an appointment today.

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