At-home colon cancer screening test available at Meriter

New test sold by Madison company approved by FDA in mid-August
At-home colon cancer screening test available at Meriter

Meriter-UnityPoint Health officials announced they will be offering Cologuard, the only FDA noninvasive stool DNA screening test for colorectal cancer, according to a release.

Cologuard has been proven to find 92 percent of colorectal cancers in average-risk patients with 87 percent specificity, officials said.

Many current stool tests look for blood that could suggest a tumor. Cologuard does this plus detects DNA that could be a sign of cancer or precancerous growths called polyps. People send a stool sample to a lab where it is tested.

According to the release, Cologuard does not require medication, dietary restrictions or bowel preparation before taking the test.

“At Meriter, our patients come first. When we have opportunities to get more people screened for a preventable disease like colon cancer, it’s our duty to make that option available to our patients,” Meriter Medical Group President Dr. Robert Turngren said in the release. “There’s no better screening test than the colonoscopy, and that will always be our first recommendation. But for those who are not willing to have a colonoscopy, this is a non-invasive option to provide them. We’re here to prevent illness and save lives.”

The new home test, sold by Exact Sciences Corp. of Madison, was approved by the FDA in mid-August, and became available for use on Monday.