Cologuard® is a colon cancer test that is being used by throughout the US and is particularly useful for people who are afraid of the colonoscopy procedure or have difficulty tolerating the colonoscopy preparation; however, they must meet eligibility requirements including family cancer history, known bowel diseases, and several cancer related syndromes.
Cologuard® is a non-invasive colon cancer screening test for adults 50 years or older who are at average risk for colon cancer. It is important to understand that Cologuard® detects cancerous cells but does not provide any preventive measures such as polyp detection that could progress into cancer over time. Cologuard® uses advanced technology to find altered DNA from abnormal cells in the colon, which could be associated with cancer or pre-cancer and does not require any special preparation. To complete the test your provider will send you home with a Cologuard® testing kit where you collect a single stool sample and mail it to a lab using a pre-paid envelope for testing. Once completed, your provider will contact you to discuss the results.
Candidates for Cologuard®
Colon cancer is one of the most preventable, yet least prevented, cancers in the US today. It is the third most diagnosed cancer, and second leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women 50 years of age and older. Despite these facts, colon cancer is one of the most treatable cancers if it is found early through screening. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, regular screening is worthwhile because it can save your life. Your physician will make a determination as to whether or not you are a candidate for a Cologuard® screening based on your own personal health history. To be eligible you must NOT have a history of ANY points mentioned below:
- No personal history of colon cancer, polyps, or other related cancers.
- No family history of colon cancer.
- No positive result for another screening method in the last six months.
- Not diagnosed with a condition that places you at high risk for colon cancer. These include but are not limited to: inflammatory bowel disease, chronic ulcerative colitis, and crohn’s disease.
- Not diagnosed with a relevant cancer syndrome passed on from your family.
Cologuard® vs. Colonoscopy
- The providers at Alpharetta and Cumming Internal Medicine prefer to use the colonoscopy procedure due to its high success rate in detecting cancerous cells in the colon without eliminating patients due to family history or illness AND goes one step further in detecting polyps, and ulcers in the large intestine.
- In a 10,000-patient clinical stbdy, Cologuard® found 92% of colon cancers. It also found 69% of high-risk pre-cancers (high-grade dysplasia), those most likely to develop into cancer.
- Both false positives and false negatives do occur. In a clinical study of Cologuard®, 13% of people without cancer or pre-cancer tested positive. Any positive should be followed by a diagnostic colonoscopy. Following a negative result, patients should continue participating in a screening program at an interval and with a method appropriate for the individual patient.
- Cologuard® performance when used for repeat testing has not been evaluated or established.
Alpharetta and Cumming Internal Medicine has experienced staff and physicians who can help you live your life to its fullest. If you live north of Atlanta in Roswell, Woodstock, Johns Creek, Suwanee or Canton, you are just a short distance from the best primary care in Georgia. Call us at 770/475-2377 to schedule an appointment today!