Alternative Colon Cancer Screening Option Now Available - Ascension Wisconsin

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Published on March 09, 2015

Alternative Colon Cancer Screening Option Now Available

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare now offers Cologuard®, the first and only FDA approved stool DNA noninvasive screening test for colorectal cancer.

Designed for men and women 50 years or older at average risk for colorectal cancer, Cologuard detects altered DNA as well as blood in the stool - both can be indicators of cancer or precancer. The test has been proven to identify 92 percent of colorectal cancers in average risk patients.

“Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare is pleased to be the first system in Milwaukee to utilize Cologuard,” said Dr. Paul Hartlaub, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare’s Medical Director for Clinical Quality and Population Health. “Although we still recommend the colonoscopy for eligible patients because it is more effective for early detection of colon cancer, we are excited to provide an alternative option in order to increase the number of people being screened.”

How Cologuard Works

  • After meeting with a doctor who prescribes Cologuard, the test is ordered and delivered directly to the patient’s home.
  • The patient collects a sample in the comfort of their own home (no medication, dietary restrictions or bowel preparation is required) and sends the collection kit to a lab for testing through a pre-paid mailer.
  • In as little as two weeks, the patient’s healthcare provider receives the results from the lab and shares them with the patient.
  • Patients with a positive result - meaning that the test detected altered DNA and/or blood that could be caused by cancer or precancer in the colon or rectum - will be referred for a colonoscopy.

Colorectal Cancer Statistics

  • According to the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, colorectal cancer is the most preventable, yet least prevented cancer in the United States.
  • More than 60 percent of Americans age 50 and up are not getting screened for colorectal cancer.
  • Colorectal cancer remains the second-leading cancer killer among both men and women in this country.
  • The good news is that for those whose cancer is detected at an early stage, the five-year survival rate can be greater than 90 percent.

Using Cologuard

Cologuard is available by prescription only and may not be appropriate for every patient. Please talk with your doctor to find out if Cologuard is right for you. Cologuard is not intended for use by patients with a personal or family history of colon cancer and patients who are at high risk for colon cancer. 

Learn more about colorectal cancer in our Health Library.

Alternative Colon Cancer Screening Option Now Available