Mayo Clinic has invented a new test that could become a reliable alternative to the colonoscopy.
The so-called Cologuard test is a DNA test that requires people to send stool samples in the mail for laboratory testing.
The Star Tribune reports the test was 92 percent accurate at identifying patients with colon cancer and 69 percent accurate at identifying patients with the kinds of lesions in their bowels that indicate a high risk for developing cancer.
According to the Mayo Clinic, colon cancer is curable if it's caught early. But doctors at Mayo Clinic say only half of all people at risk of colon cancer get screened for the disease. Mayo says that's because people often don't know they should be screened and others simply don't want to undergo colonoscopy.
The new test could make screening for the disease a lot easier.
The Street reports study results published in the New England Journal of Medicine show "Cologuard was associated with a 27% relative increase in the rate of detection of stage I to stage III colon cancer and a 78% relative increase in the detection of advanced precancerous lesions compared to FIT," another fecal screening test.
The Cologuard test is not yet available for use. The Food and Drug Administration is set to rule soon on whether the test is safe and effective.
With federal approval, the Cologuard test could be available as early as this summer.