Cologuard colon cancer test. You may have seen the commercial on T.V or your primary care provider may have recommended one. But, should you take the test?
What does cologuard test for?
- DNA markers associated with colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps.
- Non-visible blood (hemoglobin).
How does cologuard work?
- It detects abnormal cells that are mixed with stools.
How effective is cologuard?
- It detects ninety two percent of colorectal cancer but only forty nine percent of precancerous polyps.
- The test cannot remove a polyp so if the test is positive you will need a colonoscopy.
Who should not take the cologuard test?
- Person with history of colorectal cancer.
- Person with history of colon polyps.
- Person with family history of colorectal cancer.
- Person with family history of pre-cancerous polyps.
- Person with a positive test from other colorectal cancer screening test like FOBT, FIT, CT colonography, sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy.
- Person with blood in the stool.
- Person with diarrhea.
- Person with inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease).
- Persons with certain genetic disorders that predispose them to colorectal cancer such as Lynch syndrome and polyposis syndromes.
What are the other tests for colorectal cancer screening?
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy.
- CT or virtual colonoscopy.
- Guaiac fecal occult blood test (gFOBT).
- Fecal immunochemical test (FIT).
What screening test can prevent colorectal cancer?
- Only colonoscopy has the ability to look at the entire colon and remove precancerous polyps before they grow into cancer.
How long does it take to get the cologuard test result?
- About 2 weeks.
How often should I take the cologuard test?
- Every 3 years but in consultation with your physician.
What happens if my cologuard test comes back positive?
- If your test comes back positive, you will need a colonoscopy. Colonoscopy done for this reason is not considered a screening colonoscopy but a diagnostic colonoscopy. A diagnostic colonoscopy is not covered free like a screening colonoscopy. Depending on your insurance, you should consider this factor when choosing a test to screen for colorectal cancer.
For more information about the cologuard test, click HERE.