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article imageNew home colon cancer test goes on the market today

By Martin Laine     Oct 27, 2014 in Health
Beginning today, a new home test for colorectal cancer will be available by prescription. The hope is that the millions of Americans who have been avoiding the unpleasant alternative testing methods will take advantage of it.
Patients will simply collect a stool sample and send it to a lab for testing. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August. At first it will only be available through the Mayo Clinic in Wisconsin, where it was developed in collaboration with ExactSciences,Inc., but will soon be available throughout the country, according to an article in the Washington Post.
Known as Cologuard, the new test is far more accurate than previously available home tests, which tested for blood in the stools, an indication of possible polyps or lesions. The Cologuard tests for blood as well, but also tests for cancer-related DNA.
“By increasing the pick-up rate in this way,” said Dr. Steven Itkowitz, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, in an article on the WebMD website. “We found that the new test had a 92 percent sensitivity for detection of colorectal cancer. This kind of result is really unprecedented for a noninvasive stool-based screening.”
Cologuard “offers patients and physicians another option to screen for colorectal cancer,” said Alberto Gutierrez, director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health at the FDA.
Last year, about 143,000 new cases of colorectal cancer were diagnosed and nearly 50,000 Americans died, making it the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country. Yet, only 60 percent of Americans go for a colonoscopy, a procedure in which a tube equipped with a camera is threaded into the large intestine to detect and remove any polyps that can then be biopsied to determine whether they are cancerous.
More about Colon cancer, Fit, Mayo clinic
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