Mayo Clinic Offers At-Home Colon Cancer Test
The Mayo Clinic is offering an alternative for patients who want to avoid a colonoscopy for cancer detection. This week, the clinic announced that it will be the first in the United States to offer the Cologuard test. Cologuard has been approved by the FDA.
For patients using the Cologuard test, they collect their own stool sample in a sealed container and mail it so it can under go DNA analysis for colon cancer assessment. The traditional colonoscopy will remain the key method for detection, especially for the elderly and those with a family history of cancer, but Mayo believes the new alternative will result in more people getting screened.
The more people who are screened, the more individuals can be identified at early stages of the cancer, where the disease is more treatable. The Mayo Clinic‘s Dr. Vijay Shah explains, “We believe offering this new tool will promote patient and community public health and may move more patients to get screened earlier — a critical step in beating this prevalent and preventable cancer.”
Mayo Clinic and Exact Sciences of Madison, Wisconsin, the manufacturers of Cologuard, jointly announced the availability of the new test earlier this week. It will be available through the Mayo Clinic’s primary care doctors. It is by prescription only.
It's currently estimated that America alone, 23 million people ages 50 to 75 are not being properly screened. Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer killer in the U.S. Early detection for colon cancer can result in a five-year survival rate for over 90% of patients.
Cologuard was created for adult patients 50-years-old or older who have an average risk for colon cancer based on their health and family history. Research by Exact Sciences’, market research group, indicated that people would easily overlook any discomfort at collecting their own stool samples if they were certain the test was accurate and that it was covered by their insurance.
Once the stool sample is mailed in a secure package that is provided, patients will get their results in as little as two weeks.
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