Dr. Oz: Cologuard Review
Dr. Oz talked about a brand new test that can prevent colon cancer called Cologuard. This is a critical new test, because if detected early, 90 percent of people with colon cancer are cured. But when left undetected, the chance of surviving drops to 10 percent.
The new test lets people take stool samples at home and then mail them in for analysis of colon cancer risk. The new test is pain-free, highly accurate, and will help doctors reach the one in three Americans ages 50 to 75 who never get screened.
Dr. Oz: How At-Home Stool Samples Are Collected
Dr. Oz talked to gastroenterologist Dr. Mark Pochapin, who said this test is great because it can detect the cancer when it’s very early. Dr. Pochapin showed how they collect the sample. The device fits under the toilet seat to make it easy to collect the stool. After doing your business, you add a liquid to help stabilize the sample. It also checks for microscopic blood. Make sure the lid is tight and that you put the right label on the package, because you don’t want it going somewhere else.
Dr. Oz: Who Should Test for Colon Cancer?
Dr. Pochapin explained that this test kit is one of the many different interventions to detect colon cancer. Any test to screen for color cancer has a great benefit. This particular test should be done by people who don’t have any known risk factors. If someone has a risk, they should get a more conventional study like a colonoscopy. which can not only detect cancer, but detect pre-cancer, like polyps.
He said everyone over the age of 50 should be getting screened in some way for colon cancer. If you have a family history and you’re over 30, you should also get screened. Women are more likely to go undetected, so they should be vigilant in getting screened.
This particular test costs almost $600, but the FDA and the CMS both approve it. Most insurance companies do not cover it yet, but most of them will soon because of how effective and promising it seems to be. He also said there’s more inexpensive tests out there as well if insurance or finances are a concern.
Dr. Oz: Symptoms of Colon Cancer
Dr. Pochapin said there are signs and symptoms to look for. These include persistent abdominal discomfort, feeling like your bowel doesn’t fully empty, and change in bowel consistency and color. The stool will be thin, almost pencil-like. He also said very early on, everything feels normal. It’s not until the cancer progresses that you have symptoms.
Colon cancer has dropped by 30 percent over the past 10 years. The majority of that drop is because of early screenings. Dr. Pochapin also said people should drink less, eat a diet low in red meat, and in general, live a healthy lifestyle.