CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Everyone 50 years and older is recommended to get a colonoscopy to detect colon cancer, although many people refuse to do so for
various reasons, including some that doctors would say are unfounded.
Colon cancer is the No. 2 leading cause of cancer in the U.S., but it is the most preventable. So what if you heard of a newly FDA approved way to see if you have colon cancer in the privacy of your own home that has been estimated 99 percent accuracy?
We followed up with 68-year-old Ernest Finch of Willoughby as he visited his gastroenterologist after his close call with colon cancer.
"I was very surprised," said Finch, who survived many other health issues and wasn't in favor of going to get a colonoscopy, especially with no
symptoms. As soon Dr. Franjo Vladic found out about the Cologuard test, he thought of Finch.
This FDA-approved test is a kit sent to your home where you basically collect your stool, pour preservative on it, label it up, box it
back up and send it off through UPS to a lab with results in just a few days.
"Best screening tests are the ones you can get people to comply with," said Vladic. "It's the first of its kind which measures altered DNA in the stool and just like our skin sloughs off cells, our colon sloughs off cells so we always have cells in our stool."
Ernest's test came back positive. That finally got him to agree to a colonoscopy, where three precancerous polyps were found and removed.
"We changed the outlook of his life" said Vladic.
According to the doctor, early detection results in a five-year survival rate of more than 90 percent, but 60 percent of colorectal cases are detected in late stages, which results in only a 15 percent survival rate past five years. It will be interesting to see how Cologuard may change those numbers.
"It is something I think everyone should have done if they don't want to have a colonoscopy," Ernest says, "if they do this and nothing shows, then you don't have to have a colonoscopy." That's because negative results are said to be 99.9 percent accurate.
Some of the bigger insurance companies such as Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield are already on board in a few states, including Ohio, as is Medicare.
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