Let’s face it: colonoscopy is a pretty bad experience. Between the cleansing, the purging, the probing, and the recovering, it is a sizable inconvenience and an occasionally traumatic procedure.
And that’s before you get the results.
Yet colonoscopy has persisted this long in spite of its drawbacks because of what it can do: save your life. Colonoscopy remains the gold standard for the diagnosis of colon cancer and related disorders. To date, no other approach can match its efficacy.
But that doesn’t mean other manufacturers haven’t tried. At-home colon cancer tests are the subject of this recent Consumer Reports article, which discusses a JAMA study to evaluate some of the most common brands. Their conclusions were hardly surprising:
- According to the study, the FIT test “detects cancer with 79 percent accuracy. But about five percent of tests deliver “false positive” results—which result in patients having to go for follow-up colonoscopies.”
- The multitarget stool DNA test “detects cancer with 92 percent accuracy. However, 14 percent of tests deliver false positive results—far higher than the FIT test.”
- And the Guaiac-Based Fecal Occult Blood Test “identifies cancer only 20 to 50 percent of the time.”
These are passable numbers, but they cannot compare with the accuracy of the colonoscopy you’ll receive at your Los Angeles proctologist’s office. It seems that the inconvenient way is still the best by far.