Clinical guidelines recommend colon cancer screening for patients, starting at age 50. Historically, the ultimate standard of care has been a screening colonoscopy. The endoscopic procedure is both diagnostic for detection and therapeutic because if a polyp is discovered, it can be immediately removed.
Now, there is a non-invasive option: the Cologuard stool DNA test. The Cologuard test is approved by the National Committee for Quality Assurance(NCQA) healthcare effectiveness data and information set used to measure the power of different screening tools in the early detection of disease. The HEDIS data is collected on patients by Medicare, Medicaid and all private insurance companies to improve the quality of the medical care we deliver as a nation.
Now that Cologuard is now approved by NCQA for HEDIS measures, it will be covered by most insurances as an alternative to colonoscopy. It can be obtained with an order that we fax from the office. The kit is mailed directly to a patient’s home. It bypasses the consultation with the gastroenterologist and possibly avoids the colonscopy completely. For patients, this is a non-invasive screening tool. It is highly sensitive in detecting DNA associated with colon cancer. If the Cologuard is positive, then DIAGNOSTIC colonoscopy will then be necessary to locate the cancerous lesions and remove them.
Here is a synopsis of the evidence confirming the value of the Cologuard test.