NEW YORK -
Researchers say the results are impressive.
"The cologuard test, which is the stool DNA test, detected 92.3 percent of all colon cancers," said Dr. David Ahlquist of the Mayo Clinic.
It also picked up 94 percent of the earliest and most curable cancers, according to new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The at home test detects blood in a patient's sample as well as DNA changes that can be a sign of cancer or precancerous polyps. Cologuard doesn't require any preparation or diet restrictions. Patients collect a sample and then mail it from home.
Colon cancer is preventable and curable if caught early, yet millions of Americans don't get screened.
"Not all patients are willing to undergo an invasive procedure, so having the option to pursue a non-invasive test should go a long way," Ahlquist said.
Mayo Clinic study author Dr. David Ahlquist is also an inventor of the test. He says it could accomplish for colon cancer what the Pap smear has done for cervical cancer.
Cologuard is not yet Food and Drug Administration approved and would be for people at average risk. Patients with positive results would need a follow-up colonoscopy.
An FDA panel is meeting later this month to discuss possible approval for the test in the U.S.