PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new test could alter the screening landscape for colorectal cancer, according to data just presented at a cancer research conference in Philadelphia.

It is called a DNA methylation test, and some are saying it could revolutionize the screening for colon cancer.

The test finds and measures DNA changes that are associated with colon cancer.

The American Association for Cancer Research is meeting this week in Philadelphia, and researchers are touting the DNA test that uses stool samples — no prep, no colonoscopy — and can be done from home.

Only if the test is positive will a colonoscopy be offered.   Researchers say it found 85 percent of cancers and 64 percent of “pre-cancers.”

Colorectal cancer rate detection was 87 percent for cancers considered to be in the most curable stage (stage I-III) and 69 percent for the most advanced stage (stage IV).

Further clinical trials are planned for next year.

The down side?  The test is not yet approved by the FDA.

So, perhaps the most important point: if you are scheduled for a colonoscopy, go ahead and do it.  We don’t know when this will be official or when we can use it.  You don’t want to miss the chance to get that colon cancer early.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer mortality.


Reported by KYW medical editor Dr. Brian McDonough.


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