The FDA approved the first blood-based colorectal cancer test, Epi proColon, earlier this year. However, gastroenterologists are unsure if the benefits outweigh the costs for this new screening method, according to Medscape.
Here's what you need to know:
1. Epi proColon detects methylated Septin 9 DNA, a substance found in colorectal tumors.
2. Many expect that the availability of Epi proColon will encourage more patients to get screened, since it is more convenient and less invasive than colonoscopy.
3. However, Epi proColon is less accurate than colonoscopy. Additionally, while colonoscopy detects cancer and precancerous polyps, Epi proColon only detects cancer.
4. For these reasons, Epi proColon is not one of the seven colorectal screening methods recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
5. Gastroenterologists emphasize that these seven recommended tests should be offered to patients before Epi proColon. This new screening method should only be offered to those who have declined the more accurate screening tests.