A Simple Blood Test For Colon Cancer?

Researchers recently unveiled a new blood test that they say can detect colon cancer cells early and identify precancerous cells, as well. It’s much simpler — and more comfortable — than a colonoscopy and will likely be inexpensive, as well. What’s the rub? We’re not there yet; it still needs more testing.

But the research was big news among colon cancer experts at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. Those of us concerned about colorectal cancer risk need to pay close attention to the future availability of this test and others like it.

Why? Right now the problem with colorectal cancers is that they’re silent killers; people usually don’t know they have a tumor until they have blood in their stool, at which time they tell their doctor and a colonoscopy is performed. Blood that’s present in the stool but isn’t visible can be detected with a fecal occult blood test (FOBT).