New at-home colon cancer screening test offered

RENO, Nev (KOLO) You may have seen the commercials lately on TV alerting you to a new colon cancer screening test you can take at home.

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Called Cologuard, it recently received FDA approval as a screening test for cancer of the colon.

“In April of 2014, the New England Journal of Medicine showed it was a pretty darn good test. In August the FDA approved it for use. So cancers in polyps, pre-cancerous polyps release DNA in the stool that this test can detect,” says Dr. Tomas Hinojosa, a gastroenterologist with the Veterans Hospital in Reno.

Dr. Hinojosa says the test is recommended for patients with a low risk of colon cancer.

A physician writes a prescription for the test, which will arrive at your home. The test runs about $600. Insurance can pick up the cost.

Dr. Hinojosa says for his patients who want to try the test, a discussion like this takes place.

“If we are going down that route I want to make sure they understand if it is positive they need to have a colonoscopy,” says Dr. Hinojosa. He says that same discussion takes place when patients want to use the FIT test.

These tests have been on the market for a while, and you'll need a doctor's order to get one. The tests finds blood in the stool, and if it comes back positive, a colonoscopy will be needed. The FIT test is recommended for patients who don't have a high risk of colon cancer

Neither of the tests can replace a colonoscopy. If you are between the ages of 50 and 75 years of age, you should be screened for colorectal cancers.

If you have a strong family history of the disease, or you have a history of inflammatory bowel disease or polyps, you may be considered for a colonoscopy prior to that time.