Colon-cancer blood test earns safety endorsement from FDA panel

An advisory committee to the FDA voted that a blood test that screens for colon and rectal cancers was safe, according to a May 23 report by The New York Times.

The test, designed by Guardant Health, offers an alternative to a colonoscopy or self-administered fecal test for individuals with an average risk for colon and rectal cancers. 

However, blood tests are not as effective as colonoscopies at identifying precancerous growths on the colon.

Guardant Health's Shield test found 13% of dangerous polyps, compared to 95% from colonoscopies and 42% from advanced fecal tests.

According to the FDA, one-third of individuals who should be getting screened for colorectal cancer are not receiving a screening. The agency's hope with blood tests is that more people will get screened by offering a more convenient option, the report said.

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