While we’re all trying to stay safe at home, Cologuard is a colonoscopy alternative

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer and one of the most curable if caught early.

If you’ve been trying to stay home more and are putting off your colonoscopy, consider Cologuard or a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) to catch colon cancer early while it’s still very treatable.

A colonoscopy is the best way to detect colon cancer and allows the surgeon to remove any polyps or tumors. If you’ve been avoiding having yours done, Cologuard and FIT are simple and involve little more than your bathroom and mailing a package.

Stool tests are only for people with an average risk of colon cancer. Colonoscopies are still recommended if you have a close relative who was diagnosed before age 60, have any family history of inheritable cancers or have inflammatory bowel disease.

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer and one of the most curable if caught early. Colon cancer screening guidelines have been modified in recent years — people with no family history and other risk factors are now advised to start at age 45.

Don’t put off a colon cancer screening

More options make it easier to catch colon cancer while it’s most curable. Talk to a staff member about your options.

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“Fecal colon cancer tests have made it easier to screen for colon cancer during the pandemic, and Cologuard catches about 92% of cancers,” said Michael F. Driscoll, M.D., medical oncologist with Norton Cancer Institute. “Given the current crisis, a fecal test is better than putting off a screening any longer.”

How Cologuard or FIT work

Both tests look for signs of cancer in your stool.

Your health care provider will prescribe the test, which will arrive with instructions for collecting a sample and sending it back to the lab. In addition to Norton Community Medical Associates primary care providers, Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens clinic providers recently started providing Cologuard prescriptions to meet the need.

Cologuard looks for DNA mutations and other signs of possible colon cancer, possibly identifying colon cancer before symptoms appear. The FIT looks for hidden blood that could be from polyps or tumors.

Once you’ve collected your stool sample, you’ll place it in the return-mail package and send it off for testing.

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