New At-Home Stool Test Aims to Detect Colon Cancer

A new at-home colon cancer test, called Cologuard, tests for DNA mutations in stool.  Cologuard looks at blood and DNA of cells that are found in the stool.  In the blood and DNA cells they look for mutations that have been linked to colorectal cancer.  This test is more accurate than the current stool test that doctors use, which is called a fecal occult blood test.   Cologuard will not be able to replace colonoscopies.  Colonoscopies are considered the gold standard when it comes to colorectal cancer detection.

There are many perks to dong the Cologuard stool test.  There are no diet restrictions or bowel prep required to complete the test.  You are given a collection kit that you are able to complete in the comfort of your own home.  The collection kit required that you collect two stool samples. One for DNA testing and one for blood testing.  The collected samples are then sent to a lab for processing, which takes about two weeks.  The drawback to this test is that is costly.  Each test costs about $599.
The FDA reported that Cologuard detected more cases of cancer than the fecal occult blood test.  In a study that was comprised of 10,000 people, Cologuard detected 92% of cancers compared to 74% by the fecal occult blood test.  It was also better at finding pre-cancerous growths when compared to the fecal occult blood test.  It detected 42% compared to 24% by the fecal occult blood test.

Experts believe that the Cologuard test will not replace any other test that aims to detect colon cancer but it is another option.  If a patient receives a positive Cologuard result, doctors now that a colonoscopy is needed.

1. “New At-Home Colon Cancer Test: FAQ.”  WebMD Health News.  WebMD.  August 13, 2014.  Web 13 Sept 2014.