New Colon Cancer Test Disappoints Those Looking Forward To Colonoscopy
Bad news for those who were looking forward to a colonoscopy, the colon examination recommended for those over 50, which severely interrupts your regularly scheduled life for 36 hours, calls for you to take a sickening solution to remove every iota from your bowel, limits your diet, and makes you lie on your side, fortunately sedated, while a camera-equipped tube is inserted up your rear to take pictures of the inside of your colon. Sorry folks, a new colon cancer screening test looks like it might soon replace the colonoscopy.
Exact Sciences, a molecular diagnostics company has come up sDNA a stool sample test with the capability of identifying DNA alterations in cells that are linked to the presence of tumors. The information is gathered from cancerous and pre-cancerous cells that are shed into the stool.
Initial tests show that the sDNA test has an 85 percent sensitivity to cancer cells and a 64 percent sensitivity to pre-cancer cells, the highest levels attained by a screening test. These results were made public after 1,178 stool samples were processed and analyzed by Exact Sciences and the Mayo Clinic. All training and test samples were blinded and analyzed by Mayo Clinic biostatisticians.
Although colorectal cancers caught in the early stage have an extremely high cure rate, about 90 percent, there is an extremely low level of participation in the colonoscopy screening tests, so there are many more deaths per year than deaths from other cancers which are more fatal. In fact, colorectal cancer (commonly known as colon cancer) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and is the most deadly cancer among non-smoking men and women. Annually, there are nearly 154,000 colorectal cancer cases diagnosed and 52,000 deaths due to this disease.
David Ahlquist, M.D., a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist believes screening rates are low because current procedures involve a great deal of inconvenience for the patient. The sDNA test does not require any dietary changes, bowel emptying, work interruptions, or invasive tactics. Just a stool sample.
Any cancer-positive or questionable results, however, would have to be followed up by a colonoscopy.
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