Physicians highlighted the test's limitations, while acknowledging its value as an alternative to non-high risk individuals.
Here's what you should know:
1. According to an Exact Sciences-funded study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Cologuard detects 93 percent of cancers found through screening colonoscopy.
2. Ypsilanti, Mich.-based Huron Gastroenterology's Research Director Naresh Gunaratnam, MD, told STAT he takes issue with that detection rate. Although 93 percent is a "great result," the 7 percent of missed cases, could translate to one out of 13 people having undetected colon cancer, he said. More than a million patients have used the test.
3. Dr. Gunaratnam recommends physicians follow the Multi-Society Task Force's 2017 recommendation to view the test as a second-tier option if patients decline both colonoscopy and FIT testing.
4. Dr. Gunaratnam said, "Someday we may have a simple blood, saliva or stool test that can detect colorectal cancer and polyps better than colonoscopy. … When that day arrives, I will prescribe that new screening test because the science is sound and it is in the best interest of my patients. Until then, I will counsel physicians and their patients to choose science over convenience. That choice should be screening colonoscopy, the only test that can both detect and prevent colorectal cancer."
5. Peoria-based Illinois Gastroenterology Group gastroenterology Eli Kuga, MD, shared his thoughts on Cologuard with the Peoria Star. Like Dr. Gunaratnam, Dr. Kuga took issue with Cologuard's miss rate. Colonoscopy is a first-line recommened treatment with a 95 percent national standard completion rate, according to a New York Times article.
6. He said Cologuard is better than no screening at all, but colonoscopy is the gold standard in CRC-detection testing.
Note: Exact Sciences did not respond to a request for comment before publication. This story will be updated upon receipt.
Note: This story was updated Sept. 28.