Cologuard is a first-of-its-kind, noninvasive colon cancer screening test that patients can use at home. Once Cologuard is prescribed and ordered by a doctor, the test is shipped to the patient. No bowel preparation is required, and there are no dietary restrictions. In a 10,000-patient clinical study, Cologuard found 92% of colon cancers.1 It also found 69% of high-risk precancers (high-grade dysplasia), those most likely to develop into cancer.
Every day, millions of normal cells are shed from the colon wall into the stool stream. As these cells degenerate, they release DNA. All colon cancers start as polyps, and as those polyps develop, they also shed cells into the stool stream. Some of these cells contain altered DNA, reflecting acquired mutations found in precancerous adenomas and cancer.
With Cologuard, the Exact Sciences Stool DNA-Based Colorectal Cancer Screening Test, a patient collects a stool sample at home and mails it to Exact Sciences Laboratories using a prepaid and pre-addressed return label provided with the kit. The lab processes the sample through a series of sophisticated laboratory procedures to isolate specific DNA targets. The targeted DNA is then amplified and analyzed for molecular alterations associated with cancerous and precancerous conditions of the colon and rectum.