Colorectal cancer is the most preventable, yet least prevented cancer in the US. More than half of related deaths are avoidable with regular screenings. When detected at an early stage, the five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer can be greater than 90%.
Despite this, a recent CDC study showed Americans are not getting the recommended screenings for breast, cervical, and colon cancer. Adherence to colon cancer screening showed the worst results, with 2 in 5 adults reporting they were not up to date.
Many cite the dietary restrictions (24 hours on a clear liquid diet), bowel preparation (laxatives), invasive nature of the test, and time away from job/family as reasons they avoid the crucial screening.
The good news is that colon cancer screening got even easier with the recent FDA approval of Cologuard, the first-of-its-kind test you can take in the comfort of your own home, without any dietary restrictions or bowel preparation.
It looks for both blood and DNA in your stool, flagging cancerous and pre-cancerous cells (if pre-cancerous cells are found and removed, cancer is prevented from ever forming). A New England Journal of Medicine study found that the test identified 92 percent of colon cancers with 87 percent specificity.
Please note, however, that we have not used and are not recommending the test, but we do plan to ask our doctors if we can try the test before opting for the usual route.