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Science

Vanderbilt researcher cautions on new colon cancer home test

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A new home test for colon cancer went on sale this week, but a Vanderbilt medical researcher is sounding a note of caution.

Laura Goff is an Assistant Professor of Medicine who specializes in cancers of the digestive tract. Dr. Goff notes that the new Cologuard home test developed by the Mayo Clinic does appear to accurately detect the presence of cancer.

However, she notes that the test does not reliably detect the presence of pre-cancerous polyps in the colon. She says the now standard colonoscopy outpatient procedure, while uncomfortably invasive, not only locates the polyps, but also offers an opportunity to remove them immediately.

“At the current time, it has not been incorporated into the standard screening guidelines. I am still counseling patients to have the colorectal cancer screening done as recommended by national guidelines that incorporate colonoscopy routinely.”

The Cologuard home test would be a good option for individuals who don’t have health insurance and can’t afford a colonoscopy.

Dr. Goff notes that colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S.