If colorectal cancer is detected early, 90% of deaths are preventable. However, colorectal cancer does not cause symptoms in its earliest stage and arises spontaneously within the population of people who do not have a family history of cancer nor an inherited change in their DNA that would increase their risk. New science published in January 2022 showed that Cologuard can detect 92% of cases of colon cancer. However, it is NOT a substitute for a colonoscopy.
Colon cancer progresses slowly which makes it preventable and often curable. Ealy detection is vital to prevent disease and death.
Cologuard is an at-home non-invasive screening test to detect precancerous polyps which can become cancerous with time. It is covered by most private insurance plans as well as Medicare and Medicaid. Cologuard is the first and only FDA approved noninvasive stool DNA test used to screen average risk people for colorectal cancer.
Cologuard works by detecting DNA biomarkers in the stool. A stool DNA test checks for genetic changes that may be a sign of cancer. It also detects occult (hidden) blood in the stool.
Blood in the stool, occult blood, indicates there is bleeding in the digestive tract.
Many conditions can cause bleeding in the colon including:
- Polyps – abnormal growths on the lining of the colon and rectum
- Diverticulosis – a condition that occurs when small pouches develop in the lining of the digestive tract. if a pouch becomes inflamed or infected it is called diverticulitis. Diverticulosis is more common in people over age 60. About half of people over age 60 have diverticulosis. It is related to a low-fiber diet. Symptoms of this condition include camps, bloating and constipation. When it becomes an infection, it can lead to bleeding, pain, and intestinal blockages.
- Ulcers are sores on the lining of the colon.
- Colitis which can be caused by bacterial or parasitic infection, Irritable Bowel Disease, or low blood flow to the colon due to a history of radiation.
- Colorectal cancer
A positive test might indicate colorectal cancer or an advanced adenoma, a polyp that could be cancerous. An advanced adenoma has certain features that indicate a present or future risk of colon cancer. If the test is positive, it should be followed with a colonoscopy.
A negative test means that the patient should continue to be screened at intervals recommended by their Gastroenterology Associates of Brooklyn specialist.
Studies report that 13% of people without colorectal cancer or advanced adenomas received a false positive result and 8% of patients with cancer got a false negative result.
Cologuard is indicated for use by adults aged 45 and older, who are at average risk of colon cancer. It is not for use by adults who are at high-risk. IT is not for adults who have any gastrointestinal symptoms.
A high-risk adult is one who has a personal history of colon cancer and adenomas, has had a positive colon cancer screening test within the past six month, has been diagnosed with conditions that create a high-risk such as inflammatory bowel disease, chronic ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s or a family history of colorectal cancer, polyps, or a hereditary syndrome that predisposes to colon cancer.
It is a prescription product that can be obtained from Gastroenterology Associates of Brooklyn.
Contact Gastroenterology Associates of Brooklyn to discuss your colon cancer screening options.