PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (KFSN) --Doctors recommend that people 50 and older undergo a colonoscopy. But many are leery of that invasive procedure. There's now a non-invasive colon cancer screening test you can take right from home.
If not for a colonoscopy three years ago, Vernice Giles might not be alive to move into her new home.
Giles told Ivanhoe, "Plain and simple. It's a matter of life and death. You just have to do it."
Volunteering for causes like colon cancer prevention, Giles prepares for charity walks when she's not getting chemotherapy. A colonoscopy diagnosed her with stage three colon cancer, which has spread to stage four.
"I know that had I gone sooner, it wouldn't have gone as far as it did," detailed Giles.
There's now an at-home screening test called Cologuard. Using the container provided, you mail a stool sample to an assigned lab.
Joseph Ferroni, M.D., an obstetrician and gynecologist at Gynecology and Menopause Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania said Cologuard is over 90 percent accurate, testing for colon cancer and pre-cancerous polyps.
"As that starts to grow, it starts to shed its DNA, the cells containing DNA, into the stool. So that's what we're measuring," explained Dr. Ferroni.
Ironically, Cologuard revealed Dr. Ferroni had precancerous polyps, which were removed.
He said, "It either saved my life or it saved me a whole lot of problems in the future."
Cologuard helps determine if you need the next step, a more thorough colonoscopy.
Giles said, "Get it done, so that you don't have to go through what I'm going through now."
Cologuard must be ordered by a doctor and is for those at average risk for colon cancer. It is not a replacement for colonoscopy in high-risk individuals, those with a past history of colon cancer, or a family history of the disease. The test was approved by the FDA in late 2014, after undergoing a rigorous review process.
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Gynecology & Menopause Center