• By Joel Streed

Finding Colon Cancer Before it's Cancer

January 18, 2012

More accurate and more sensitive.  When it comes to cancer screenings, those are two attributes you really want.  Well, results of two studies suggest that a new, investigational colorectal cancer (CRC) screening test developed in collaboration between Mayo Clinic and Exact Sciences Inc. of Madison, Wis., is highly accurate and significantly more sensitive than other noninvasive tests at detecting precancerous tumors (adenomas) and early-stage cancer.

The screening test, called stool DNA testing, works by finding signature genetic markers in stool samples mailed in by patients. The testing can be done from home, and should be accessible wherever the mail goes.

“Colorectal cancer continues to be an enormously huge problem. It is the number two cancer killer in North America, and only about half of all adults that should be screened for colon cancer are screened for colon cancer,” says lead study author David A. Ahlquist, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist. A simple, accurate test will help to bring screening to more patients.

“The nice thing about the colon is that it is very accessible.  A positive test would be followed by a colonoscopy to remove the polyps. And removing the polyps then, will prevent a subsequent cancer from forming,” say Dr. Ahlquist.

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