Cologuard is a test that helps detect colon cancer. It is a stool-DNA screening procedure that is approved by the FDA. The reason behind the increasing popularity of a Cologuard test is convenience and lesser invasiveness vs. the colonoscopy test. A Cologuard test has various advantages and has its own set of cons. Many patients ask, “Is a Cologuard test as good as a colonoscopy?” Keep reading to find out.
Cologuard vs. colonoscopy
Both Cologuard and colonoscopy are screening tests, but both work differently, and the results also vary.
A Cologuard test detects polyps and colon cancer symptoms. There are chances of complications that include bowel puncturing and allergic reactions to sedatives with a colonoscopy test. But if you go with Cologuard, you won’t have to worry about such risks.
However, there are some things that you must know when going with Cologuard. This test may not fully detect larger polyps. Sometimes precancerous polyps may left unidentified, giving a false negative. Other times it may give false positives, which isn’t an issue with colonoscopy.
Your physician may use a combination of Cologuard and colonoscopy to detect colon cancer. Cologuard is the best initial test for those having an average risk for colon cancer.
If the results from your Cologuard are positive, this means you’ll need further testing. However, negative test results give you a chance to eliminate colonoscopy. But note that it will depend on the recommendation of your physician.
Advantages Of Cologuard Test
As compared to other cancer-detecting tests, Cologuard has multiple benefits.
- The first and foremost advantage is that it saves your time and energy. No more visits to the hospital and waiting for your turn.
- Some people are hesitant about the colonoscopy procedure because it generally requires some sedation. With colonoscopy, a patient needs to undergo some form of sedation or anesthesia, but it’s not the case with the Cologuard test. But do remember that if the results from your Cologuard are vague, you may need to undergo a colonoscopy procedure.
- No preparations are required for a Cologuard test. If you are taking any medication, you don’t need to abort them or fast before taking the test.
Disadvantages of Cologuard test
- The test results for detecting precancerous polyps aren’t very accurate compared to those of colonoscopy.
- High chances of false positives can make you anxious while waiting for further testing.
- The test may also miss the presence of polyps or colon cancer (false negative).
- One of the main drawbacks of Cologuard is the associated cost. The test can be costly if your insurance doesn’t cover it.
“Is a Cologuard test as good as a colonoscopy?” will be best answered by your doctor depending on your health. Each patient is different, and so is their condition; therefore, leave the decision to the experts. If you risk having colon cancer, it’s better to consult a physician before things run out of hand. To schedule an appointment with Gastroenterology Diagnostic Center, call 281-357-1977.