Even though colorectal cancer is the third-most common cancer diagnosed in the US, an estimated 23 million Americans between the ages of 50 to 75 don’t get screened for it despite professional recommendations that they do. If you’ve ever had a colonoscopy, you would understand why. And if you haven’t had one, well, you just might escape ever having to go through the difficult prep and intrusive procedure, now that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a DNA-based test for the disease.
Cologuard from Exact Sciences is a scatological test. That is, it involves examining poop. Patients can come up with the sample in the comfort of their home, and mail their Cologuard collection kit to the Exact Sciences lab to be tested. According to the company’s studies, Cologuard detects 92% of colorectal cancers and 69% of advanced, precancerous polyps.
Cologuard doesn’t require any dietary restrictions beforehand, unlike traditional stool tests that look for blood hidden in the fecal matter. (In those tests, digested foods like red meat or raw vegetables can distort the results.)