New study anticipates approval of colorectal cancer blood test in 2024

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WASHINGTON, March 18, (Agencies): A breakthrough in cancer detection might soon revolutionize colorectal cancer screening, as per a recent study. Published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, the study unveils promising results for a blood test named Shield, developed by Guardant Health. While not a substitute for colonoscopy, Shield demonstrates high effectiveness in detecting colorectal cancers.

The research, encompassing 7,861 participants from the United States, compared the outcomes of both colonoscopy and Shield blood test. Shield successfully identified 83% of colorectal cancers detected by colonoscopy but missed 17%. Notably, for individuals with negative colonoscopy results, the blood test erroneously flagged 10% as potential cases of colon cancer.

Currently available for purchase at $895 in the US, Shield lacks insurance coverage. However, Guardant Health awaits FDA approval, anticipated later this year. If approved, the blood test would be recommended every three years starting at age 45, complementing existing screening protocols.

Despite its potential, those with symptoms or risk factors, such as a family history of colon cancer, would still necessitate colonoscopy. Colorectal cancer typically originates from polyps in the colon, which can gradually progress to cancerous growths. Regular screening facilitates early detection and removal of polyps, averting illness.

Colorectal cancer ranks as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the US and third globally, as per Cancer.org. Despite recommendations to start screening at age 45, less than 60% of eligible individuals are up to date with their exams, according to the American Cancer Society.

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