Mayo Clinic will be first to offer a new in-home colon cancer screening test. Mayo developed Colonguard along with Madison-based Exact Sciences Corporation. Mayo Clinic chair of gastroenterology and hepatology Dr. Vijay Shah said Colonguard will be a game changer in detecting colon cancer at its most treatable stages.
“This new and simple test, which can be done on the convenience of one’s own home, will revolutionize colon cancer screening,” said Shah. “The current approaches for colorectal cancer are sub-optimal, and a large number of individuals who should be screened are not screened.” While colorectal cancer is highly preventable with screening, it remains the second-leading cancer killer in the United States.
Exact Sciences CEO Kevin Conroy said the list price for the test is $599, with a proposed cost to Medicare of $502. “This is a great value, particularly when you look at the costs of treating colon cancer,” he said. Conroy, who moved his firm to Wisconsin from Massachusetts in 2009, said collection kits are ready to be shipped to patients whose physicians order them. Right now Madison is the only lab location set up to process test results.
According to the Exact Sciences website, Colonguard works by detecting specific, altered DNA sequences in cells that are shed from the lining of the colon into the stool from pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions. The test also includes a hemoglobin detection component which identifies the presence of blood in the stool – another possible indicator of colorectal cancer.