WSB-TV Atlanta Channel 2 reporter Wendy Corona with Dr. Rudert: Medical Breakthrough! At-home colon
WSB TV Atlanta Channel 2 reporter Wendy Corona with Dr. Cynthia Rudert, Atlanta gastroenterologist, reports on medical breakthrough: new at-home colon cancer test Cologuard! For more information about this life-changing test see excerpt below. Cologuard is now covered for all Medicare patients as described in the CMS national Coverage decision released on October 9, 2014.
ATLANTA Financial analyst Marja Robinson is busy. She felt she didn't have the time, nor the desire to get her first colonoscopy.
"It's really easy to put that on the back of the list of things to do. I mean who goes, yeah, I get to have a colonoscopy. No. I didn't want it," Robinson said.
The prep for a colonoscopy includes hours in the bathroom. Between that and the sedation, many people don't want to do it. But Robinson's doctor offered her the chance to use a brand new at-home colon cancer screening test.
"You mean this is in place of doing a colonoscopy and when she said, ‘Yes,’ I said, ‘Sign me up," Robinson added.
The test is called Cologuard. A doctor orders a prescription and UPS delivers the kit to your home. The user takes the sample in their bathroom and sends the kit back.
"It is a FDA approved test that analyzes the stool for DNA for color cancer, and colon polyps," said Atlanta gastroenterologist Cynthia Rudert.
The kit includes a device to put under the toilet seat. A bucket then fits right into the center.
"It couldn't have been any simpler," Robinson said.
Colon cancer is one of the deadliest cancers if found in its late stages. It's also one of the most expensive to treat. Exact Sciences, which developed Cologuard, teamed up with the Mayo Clinic to develop it. The groups tested it on 10,000 people, which is much higher number than normal testing. After that test, the FDA approved it quickly late last year.
Channel 2's Wendy Corona traveled to Exact Science's lab in Wisconsin. It's an impressive sight. The lab did not smell, but it was full of samples sent from Metro Atlanta and around the country.
"Only about 50 percent of people are willing to undergo a regular colonoscopy," said Exact Science's CEO Kevin Conroy. "That leaves half the people not being screened by an effective tool."
WSB TV Atlanta reporter Wendy Corona and Kevin Conroy, Exact Science's CEO
In an unusual move, Medicare agreed to cover Cologuard the same day the FDA approved it. Many insurance companies, including Anthem and Aetna, have followed suit. Medicare has agreed to cover it every three years, which is recommended by doctors.
A colonoscopy in the U.S. costs around $2,000. Cologuard costs just under $600.
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