The Best Colon Cancer Screening Test Is the One That Gets Done

Data presented at Digestive Disease Week 2019 suggests that more people are willing to take a blood test than a stool test to screen for colorectal cancer.

Here’s the bottom line: Colonoscopy continues to be the most effective screening method for colorectal cancer (CRC), but too many adults who should be screened refuse to have it done as a primary screening method.

So while the headline of this article has almost become a cliche in the world of CRC screening, perhaps it’s a cliche worth embracing. A poster presentation at Digestive Disease Week 2019 in San Diego, CA did a simple yet effective job of underscoring this point.

The University of Miami Mitchell Wolfson Sr. Department of Community Service in Florida hosted free health fairs between April 2017 and April 2018. Attendees who were eligible for screening and at average risk for CRC were offered a stool-based fecal immunohistochemical test (FIT), and those who declined FIT were then offered the Epi proColon blood test, which FDA approved in 2016. Blood samples were drawn from participants who accepted Epi proColon and sent for analysis. Participants with positive Epi proColon results were contacted by student navigators to try to facilitate a colonoscopy.

Of 1,241 health fair attendees, 249 were eligible to participate in CRC screening. Of those participants, 233 (93.6%) elected to undergo Epi proColon screening. Only 16 (6.4%) of eligible participants elected to receive a take-home FIT, of which only one was returned for processing. The researchers also looked at the number of screenings from health fairs held in the prior year, which only offered FIT, and found that only 52 of 414 (12.5%) accepted FITs were processed…