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Is new colon cancer screening test a good thing?

Recently, a new screening test for colon cancer has come onto the scene. The test is called Cologuard. It is a home test which involves taking a stool sample and then sending it to a lab where several things (including DNA) will be looked at to see if there are any potential indicators of colon cancer. The idea behind the test is that if the results come back positive, a person should then seek out more comprehensive tests to determine if they do in fact have colon cancer.

In August, Cologuard received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

There is some debate over whether this test's introduction into the market will ultimately prove to be a positive or negative thing overall when it comes to colon cancer screening, as there are potential upsides and potential downsides to the test's introduction into the market.

The main potential upside is that the noninvasive and home-based nature of Cologuard may draw in people who may have otherwise skipped doing any sort of screening whatsoever. Currently, around 40 percent of the people who are in the category of individuals for whom colon cancer screening is recommended do not undergo screening. Things that may be keeping people away from screening are the invasive nature and uncomfortable preparation requirements of some screening methods, like colonoscopies.

The potential downside is that the test could also draw people away from more traditional screening methods. Why could this be a bad thing? It could because Cologuard does not yet have the same sort of statistical backing supporting its effectiveness as colonoscopies and other more time-tested screening methods. Thus, you could potentially have people being steered away from screening methods that are known to be effective towards one where there are still some question marks.

What do you think of Cologuard? Do you think it will ultimately prove to be a good or a bad thing when it comes to colon cancer screening?

Colon cancer can wreak havoc on a person physically, emotionally and mentally. It can also leave a person hurting financially, as treatment costs can be high and a person's income earning ability may be impaired by the cancer and its effects. Individuals who cannot work as a result of colon cancer or some other disease may want to speak to a Social Security disability attorney about whether they could be eligible for federal disability benefits.

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