Updated: 08/26/2014 5:43 PM
Created: 08/26/2014 4:58 PM KSTP.com
By: Josh Rosenthal
It's the test no one wants but everyone needs, at least until now. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic will be the first to offer the Cologuard test, which they say is a new alternative to getting a colonoscopy.
Basically, patients taking the Cologuard test would collect their own stool samples and mail them in for analysis.
"Patients can do this test in the comfort and convenience of their own home, and only those patients who have positive tests would be asked to undergo a follow-up diagnostic colonoscopy," said Dr. John Kisiel, a Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist.
So the test doesn't replace colonoscopies all together. If Cologuard comes back negative, then the patient would be asked to take the test again in three years.
"This would greatly reduce the number of patients that might require colonoscopy and really concentrate those resources on people that need it most," said Kisiel.
Kimberly Newcomer, a colon cancer survivor, thinks the Cologuard sounds like a great idea. When she was diagnosed with cancer, it was already stage four. She believes that she would've taken a test earlier if she could've done it in the privacy of her own home.
"This is a step in the right direction for some people who are so afraid of going to the colonoscopy," she said. "I think they'd be more willing to do this test. You know, you can do it at home and in the privacy of your own home so I think they'd be a little more comfortable."
Cologuard is only available by prescription. Once a physician orders it, the kit is mailed directly to a patient's home.
Although colon cancer is preventable through proper screening, 23 million Americans ages 50 to 75 don't follow screening recommendations.