MADISON, Wis.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Exact Sciences Corp. (NASDAQ: EXAS) today announced that Mercy Hospital St. Louis will now offer Cologuard®, the first and only FDA-approved noninvasive stool DNA screening test for colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cancer related cause of death in the United States and is often the most preventable. However, due to the lack of patient compliance with current screening options, it’s the least prevented cancer.
Cologuard analyzes a person’s stool to detect both altered DNA and blood known to be associated with colorectal cancer and precancer. It has been proven to find 92 percent of colorectal cancers in average risk patients with 87 percent specificity using a single sample. Unlike many other screening options, Cologuard does not require medication, dietary restrictions or bowel preparation prior to taking the test. Mercy is the first hospital in the St. Louis area to make this new option available.
“Colon cancer is largely a preventable disease with proper screening,” said Dr. David Cort, Gastroenterologist and Mercy Clinic Medical Director for Adult Specialties. “While colonoscopy is the gold standard for colon cancer screening, as physicians we recognize that there is a segment of the population who, for personal reasons, are unable or unwilling to do that kind of examination. This leaves them at substantial risk.”
Most colorectal cancers develop slowly over several years. Before cancer develops, a polyp—a non-cancerous growth—usually appears on the inner lining of the colon or rectum. The identification and removal of these polyps, through routine screenings, can effectively prevent colorectal cancer. For those whose cancer is detected at an early stage, the five-year survival rate can be greater than 90 percent, making routine screening critical. Unfortunately, 23 million Americans aged 50 and over do not get screened as recommended.
“With Cologuard, we’re able to offer a test for which the specimen can be obtained in the privacy of the patient’s own home,” Dr. Cort said. “Test results will help identify people with cancer and precancerous colon lesions who should go on to receive a diagnostic colonoscopy.”
“Mercy Hospital’s adoption of Cologuard will help expand patient access to this clinically significant cancer screening technology,” said Kevin Conroy, CEO and Chairman of Exact Sciences. “Compliance with colorectal cancer screening is critical to early detection and potentially prevention. We look forward to working with the healthcare providers at Mercy toward a future where colorectal cancer is identified earlier and survived more often.”
Cologuard is an easy-to-use screening test offered to people 50 years or older who are at average risk for colorectal cancer. Once patients visit their physician’s office and Cologuard is ordered, the kit is delivered directly to the patient’s home. The patient collects a stool sample in the Cologuard collection kit and sends the kit back to the lab for testing through a pre–paid mailer. Cologuard is available by prescription only.
Cologuard makes it easy for patients to take the test at their convenience and in the privacy and comfort of their own home without having to worry about taking time off work to prepare for an invasive procedure. Results from the test are turned around in as little as two weeks, and patients learn their results from their physician. A positive result should be followed by a diagnostic colonoscopy.
Results from Exact Sciences’ prospective 90-site, point-in-time 10,000-patient pivotal trial—one of the most extensive colorectal cancer screening studies ever conducted in the United States by a device manufacturer—were published in March 2014 in the New England Journal of Medicine:“Multi-target Stool DNA Testing for Colorectal-Cancer Screening.”
To find out more about Cologuard, visit www.CologuardTest.com or call 1-844-870-8870 or talk to your doctor about your risk for colorectal cancer and which screening option is right for you.