Cologuard Test Review
According to the National Cancer Institute, colon cancer is not only very common, but it is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Both men and women suffer from colon cancer, and in most cases deaths from the cancer typically affect those who are between the age of 75 and 84.
The key to overcoming colon cancer is not just revamping your lifestyle, but also early recognition of the disease. These days, most people rely upon medical professionals for yearly exams. However, there is now a game changer on the market that can potentially successfully screen for colon cancer sooner.
What Is Cologuard?
Cologuard is a non-invasive colon cancer screening kit that you receive to your door, perform at home, and send back to the laboratory for testing. The screening system is truly an innovation in the industry and is now widely used by Mayo Clinic to hopefully catch colon cancer earlier among risk-prone individuals over the age of 50.
The product was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014, furthering the legitimacy of the exam. It is important to note that when it comes to FDA approval for colon screening kits, very few have been approved. As a result, Cologuard is one of the main and leading products in the industry that provides you with the opportunity to test yourself at home.
How Does Cologuard Work?
Cologuard is innovative in its approach to testing for colon cancers. The test recognizes that your colon sheds cells on a daily basis. When abnormal cells are shed, it indicates that there is an issue. Once your colon sheds cells, they attach to your stool as it moves out of your body. To test for colon cancer, the test uses advanced stool DNA technology. At the lab, the test screens for altered DNA and/or abnormal levels of hemoglobin, which are typically associated with colon cancer or pre-cancer.
Once you provide a sample by following the instructions on the packaging, you put it back in the box where it is safely stored and preserved by the accompanying preservation liquid. After being sent back to the lab, technicians will test it and provide you or your medical professional with the results.
While Cologuard is an effective and easy way to determine whether you have colon cancer, the product is only available with a prescription. To receive the product to your home, your doctor needs to issue you a prescription, which allows you to then contact the company’s help line an order the product; just make sure you have all of the information necessary on the prescription to complete the order.
To attain Cologuard, you need to discuss screening with your healthcare provider, which can include your primary care physician or nurse practitioner. If your healthcare provider is unaware of the product, the you can certainly discuss it with them and inform them of your interest in receiving a testing kit to your home.
Since the product is available in all states, there should not be an issue attaining it. Once ordered, the product is shipped from Exact Science Laboratories, which is licensed in New York State.
Why Use Cologuard?
Some of the main advantages of using Cologuard to screen for colon cancer as opposed to visiting a clinic is that Cologuard can be used from the comfort of your own home, you do not need to instill some sort of special preparation, medication, or diet before testing, and you especially do not need to take time off work. This makes colon cancer screening extremely convenient, easy, and stress free. Best of all, you do not need to waste your time driving to a clinic or hearing back. Once you have the test, you complete the instructions and you send it back in the mail to the company for testing.
Cologuard is Not for Everyone
While Cologuard is a convenient and effective form of cancer and pre-cancer screening, it is also not for everyone. The company has a strict overview of who the product is not suitable for. If you meet any of the following points, then you should opt for testing in a clinic instead of Cologuard:
- Past screenings resulted in polyps, colon cancer, or other forms of cancer
- There is a history of colon cancer in your family
- An alternative screening method showed positive results for colon cancer in the past six months
- You have a high risk of colon cancer, which includes various forms of cancer in the colon
- If you are over the age of 75, you should review the results with caution, as the older you are – the higher the chance you may receive a false positive
The Issue of False Positive and False Negative
Keep in mind that that Cologuard does have its flaws, and they mainly come in the form of false positives and false negatives. The risk of receiving these types of results increases with age, which is why it is best to view the test with scrutiny if you are older.
False positive is when the test results indicate that you are positive for colon cancer, despite a colonoscopy indicating the contrary. If you think you have a false positive, it is best to follow up the test with a diagnostic colonoscopy to verify your condition.
Alternatively, a false negative is when the colonoscopy identifies colon cancer, but Cologuard’s test does not. If you receive a false negative result, it is best to speak with your medical professional about continued screening to determine whether you have colon cancer. The more active you are in your screening, the higher the chance a medical professional will be able to safeguard your interests and health.
Overall, Cologuard is an innovative and effortless way to screen for pre-cancer and colon cancer. The test is easy to use, it can be used from the comfort of your own home, and the risk of a false test is very low. With this test, the landscape of colon cancer screen is truly altered since you can catch any abnormalities much sooner and more easily. If you are interested in testing, simply discuss the matter with your primary care physician, who will guide you through the prescription process.