Researchers have developed a test that could revolutionize colon cancer detection. The technique, created by scientists at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, is non-invasive, and it's very easy for the patient because the new technology can spot a genetic marker for cancer in a stool sample.
In a study of more than 70 people, the test detected the genetic marker in 61% of the patients with cancer and in 50% of patients with pre-cancerous tumors. There were no false positives. The bad news is that the test will need some fine tuning for even better accuracy before it can become widely available. This process could take three to five years.
Researchers say they believe this stool test will become as standard as mammography and pap smears, with this one finding colon cancer in its earliest stage. The study was conducted by scientists at the Sidney Kimmell Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.