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, patients must meet eligibility requirements, including family cancer history, known bowel diseases, and several cancer-related syndromes. Furthermore, gastroenterologists from coast to coast voice concerns that Cologuard could “never take the place of the gold standard colonoscopy procedure.” For more information about recent news coverage, click on the links below.
What is Cologuard and How Does it Work?
Cologuard is a non-invasive colon cancer screening test for adults, 50 years of age 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. 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 for testing, using a pre-paid envelope. 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. Colonoscopies go one step further than Cologuard, 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.
Are You Cologuard Eligible?
Cologuard is not for everyone. To be eligible, you must NOT have a history of:
- Positive results for another screening method in the last six months.
- Diagnosis of a condition that places you at high risk for colon cancer, including, but not limited to, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or familial adenomatous polyposis.
- Diagnosis of a relevant cancer syndrome 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), or 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 U.S. today. It is the third-most diagnosed cancer, and second-leading cause of cancer death 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 screenings are worthwhile because they 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.