Cologuard: not plan A
Cologuard® is a Colon Cancer test that is being used by gastroenterologists throughout the US and is particularly useful for people who are afraid of the Colonoscopy procedure or have difficulty tolerating the colonoscopy preparation; however, they must meet eligibility requirements including family cancer history, known bowel diseases, and several cancer-related syndromes. Many gastroenterologists say, “Cologuard can never take the place of the gold standard colonoscopy procedure.”
Cologuard is a non-invasive Colon Cancer screening test for adults 50 years or older who are at average risk for Colon Cancer. It is important to understand that Cologuard detects Cancerous cells but does not provide any preventive measures such as polyp detection that could progress into Cancer over time. Cologuard uses advanced technology to find altered DNA from abnormal cells in the colon, which could be associated with Cancer or Pre-cancer and does not require any special preparation. To complete the test Dr. Singh, Dr. Rashbaum, or Dr. Nitin Parikh will send you home with a Cologuard testing kit where you collect a single stool sample and mail it to a lab using a pre-paid envelope for testing. Once completed, your physician will contact you to discuss the results.
Candidates for Cologuard
Colon Cancer is one of the most preventable, yet least prevented, Cancers in the US. It is the third most diagnosed cancer and second leading cause of Cancer deaths in both men and women 50 years of age and older. Despite these facts, colon cancer is one of the most treatable Cancers if it is found early through screening. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, regular screening is worthwhile because it can save your life. Your physician will make a determination as to whether or not you are a candidate for a Cologuard screening based on your own personal health history. To be eligible you must NOT have a history of ANY points mentioned below:
- No personal history of Colon Cancer, Polyps, or other related cancers.
- No family history of Colon Cancer.
- No positive result for another screening method in the last six months.
- Not diagnosed with a condition that places you at high risk for Colon Cancer. These include but are not limited to Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Chronic Ulcerative Colitis, and Crohn’s Disease.
- Not diagnosed with a relevant cancer syndrome passed on from your family, such as Hereditary Non-polyposis Colorectal Cancer syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome, MYH-Associated Polyposis, Gardner’s Syndrome, Turcot’s (or Crail’s) Syndrome, Cowden’s Syndrome, Juvenile Polyposis, Cronkhite-Canada Syndrome, Neurofibromatosis, or Familial Hyperplastic Polyposis.
Cologuard vs. Colonoscopy
- The experts at Digestive Care Physicians prefer to use the Colonoscopy procedure due to its high success rate in detecting Cancerous cells in the colon without eliminating patients due to family history or illness AND goes one step further in detecting Cancerous cells, Polyps, and Ulcers in the large intestine.
- In a 10,000-patient clinical study, Cologuard found 92% of colon cancers. It also found 69% of high-risk pre-cancers (high-grade dysplasia), those most likely to develop into cancer.
- Both false positives and false negatives do occur. In a clinical study of Cologuard, 13% of people without cancer or pre-cancer tested positive. Any positive should be followed by a Diagnostic Colonoscopy. Following a negative result, patients should continue participating in a screening program at an interval and with a method appropriate for the individual patient.
- Cologuard performance when used for repeat testing has not been evaluated or established.
Board certified physicians Dr. Singh, Dr. Rashbaum, Dr. Nitin Parikh, Dr. Sumana Moole, Dr. Long B. Nguyen, Tammi D’Elena, PA-C; and Vanessa T. Dang, MSN, APRN; care for patients in the north Atlanta, GA; area including Alpharetta, GA; Johns Creek GA, Cumming GA, and Lawrenceville, GA. The In-House Endoscopy Suite at Digestive Care Physician is a certified facility which has achieved the highest level of accreditation by the Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). If you are experiencing abdominal pain, changes in bowel habits, or notice blood in your stool, don’t ignore it! Contact us at (770) 227-2222 to schedule a consultation to discuss your bowel problems – it could save your life.