Colon cancer screening at home

Colon cancer screening at home: no fasting, no laxatives, no embarrassing procedure, no kidding!

Colon cancer screening at home: no fasting, no laxatives, no embarrassing procedure, no kidding!

It may sound too good to be true, but true it is. While colonoscopy has long been and continues to be the gold standard to screen for colorectal cancer and remove polyps from the colon, a new option is now available that makes it possible to screen for colon cancer from the privacy and comfort of your own home.

This new FDA-approved noninvasive testing system that requires no advance preparation, and no time off work is called Cologuard.  Norton Healthcare is the first health care provider in Kentucky to offer this important new advance that can help increase screening for colon cancer.

“The decision to offer this at-home screening tool reflects Norton Cancer Institute’s commitment to lead the way in innovative cancer care and prevention,” said Thomas M. Woodcock, M.D., an oncology specialist with Norton Cancer Institute.

Below is the scoop on what you need to know about Cologuard. While it is a highly preventable form of cancer, sadly, it is also one of our least prevented cancers. Early screening is important to prevent this second-leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.

  • Cologuard is approved for those who are age 50 and older and have average risk for colon cancer. This means you have no prior history with polyps or cancer and no family history of colon cancer.
  • A physician’s prescription is required for the test, which analyzes a person’s stool to detect altered DNA and blood known to be associated with colorectal cancer, and cells considered to be precancerous.
  • After your health care provider orders the test, the test kit is delivered directly to your home. You collect a stool sample in the collection container provided and send the test back to the lab for testing using a prepaid mailer.
  • Results from the screening test are turned around in as little as two weeks. Patients learn their results from their health care provider.
  • Any positive result is communicated by a personal phone call to the ordering physician, who will inform the patient.

“Any positive Cologuard results need to be followed up by a diagnostic colonoscopy,” said Mark D. Martin, M.D., Norton Gastroenterology Consultants. “If Cologuard testing shows negative results, it should be repeated every three years since results can change over time.”

Studies show Cologuard accurately detects 92 percent of cancers and 69 percent of the most advanced or large polyps in the colon.  Cologuard and other screening tools do not replace the need for or the importance of colonoscopies. Both false positives and false negatives are possible with various screening options. Diagnostic colonoscopies are critical for high-risk individuals and for following up any positive screening results.

Most colorectal cancers develop slowly over several years. Before cancer develops, polyps — noncancerous growths — often appear on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Polyps can be identified and removed during a screening colonoscopy, effectively preventing colorectal cancer.

For those whose cancer is detected at an early stage, the five-year survival rate can be greater than 90 percent. Unfortunately, 23 million Americans ages 50 and older do not get screened as recommended.

“The more resources we can provide that make it easier and more convenient for patients to get regular colon cancer screenings, the more opportunity we have to improve early detection and survival rates for this preventable cancer,” said Robert W. Shaw, M.D., internal medicine, Norton Community Medical Associates – Barret.


Appointments

(502) 629-1234

Search our entire site.

Schedule an Appointment

Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.