New stool DNA test screens for colorectal cancer

Posted by Sheryl M Ness, MA, RN @smness, Jan 23, 2015

A new non-invasive stool DNA test was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration to use as a screening option for colorectal cancer.

The test is called Cologuard and is available at Mayo Clinic. It was co-developed by Exact Sciences Corp. and Mayo Clinic.

Cologuard technology is designed to detect DNA alterations and blood released from cancerous and pre-cancerous tumors within the colon. The body naturally sheds cells from the lining of your colon each day. The test detects abnormal cells from pre-cancerous and cancerous tumors as well as blood shed within the colon.

This new test is an important development as it may offer an easier, more cost-effective way to screen for colorectal cancer, which is highly preventable.

Many of you aren’t getting screened beginning at age 50 as recommended. More than 60 percent of all colorectal cancers aren’t detected until the later stages of the disease when survival is lower.

Cologuard may not be right for you if:

  • You have a personal history of colorectal cancer, polyps or other cancers
  • You have a family history of colorectal cancer
  • You had a positive screening test for colorectal cancer in the past six months
  • You have another condition that puts you at a higher risk for colorectal cancer, such as familial adenomatous polyposis, Lynch syndrome, Crohn’s disease, chronic ulcerative colitis and others.

The test requires a physician order with the kit mailed directly to your home. You collect a stool sample in the Cologuard Collection kit and send it back to for testing. Results are provided within a couple of weeks. Positive results mean you’ll need a colonoscopy.

If you aren’t a patient at Mayo Clinic, your physician can order the test from Exact Sciences. For more information, visit

Are you 50 or older? Have you been screened for colorectal cancer?

Visit the Living with Cancer blog here


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