Study: Blood Test May Detect Colon Cancer (NBC News)


A new study suggests that the development of biomarkers for colon cancer may shape the future of screening for the disease, reports NBC News, adding that experts say the findings are promising, though “not quite ready for prime time.”

Meanwhile, scientists are trying to determine whether an old, relatively simple test is as effective as colonoscopies in screening for colon cancer, NBC News reports.

H. Gilbert Welch, professor of medicine at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (TDI), tells the news outlet that there is no indication that colonoscopies actually save more lives than the less-invasive stool test. He says the higher-tech test became more popular because “the basic idea of it was so appealing. It was being used as a follow-up test for the (stool) test. And the idea was, ‘wow, if we do this as a follow-up test, maybe we could just do it on everyone.’ ”

Now, TDI’s Associate Professor of Medicine Douglas Robertson and colleagues are conducting a study comparing the efficacy of the colonoscopy and the stool test. The most important thing to know about testing options, Robertson tells NBC News, is that screening for colon cancer does save lives.

“There are data that show that if you give people options, they’re more likely to comply with screening and that is what is most important—getting screened with some test,” he says.

Read the full story, published 6/7/13 by NBC News.

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