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May 24, 2016

Cologuard– Is this an effective means of screening for colon cancer?

Cologuard, the in-home colon cancer test, may be an accurate, noninvasive test that could improve the effectiveness of colorectal-cancer screening. To use the Cologuard test - an individual collects a single stool sample using one of the retailed testing kits, then sends it to Exact Sciences Lab. The results are then forwarded to your physician. Although for some this may sound like an desirable alternative compared to the traditional colon prep, which requires fasting and some serious bathroom time the day before, the Cologuard should not be used in place of a colonoscopy screening.

The physicians at inSite Digestive Health Care believe a colonoscopy remains the gold standard for colon cancer screening. Since removing benign polyps PREVENTS cancer—a colonoscopy is always preferred. Additionally, if the Cologuard test is found positive, the next step is a colonoscopy. So it is NOT a test for someone who will refuse colonoscopy, as it is more of a supplementary test to a colonoscopy. Unlike a colonoscopy, which can usually be done 10 years after a negative test—the Cologuard has not provided the consumer with an idea of how often the test should be administered if an individual’s results are negative.

On the other hand, for those unwilling to do a colonoscopy, ANY screening test you do is better than NO screening test. The Cologuard is a $500 test, which is sometimes not covered by insurers. For those enlisted in Medicare—your plan will not cover it if you've had polyps or have any higher risk factors to colon cancer. When it comes to colon cancer, it is obvious that the link between screenings and diagnoses is a significant one. The increased number of colon cancer screenings in recent years, in turn increase the number of people who survive the diagnosis. If you or your loved ones have any questions regarding screening options, contact the physicians at inSite Digestive Health Care.

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