Non-invasive Colon Cancer Test

Winter 2003 CSANews Issue 49  |  Posted date : May 02, 2007.Back to list

Up until recently, a colonoscopy was the most accurate way to diagnose colon cancer - although also the most invasive and expensive. But Dr. Tedros Bezabeth, a researcher based in Winnipeg, MB is developing a test which will use the patient's stool to make the diagnosis.

Current screening techniques, which include the dreaded colonoscopy, digital rectal examinations and barium enemas, are uncomfortable for the patient and yield only 50 to 75 per cent accuracy. The new test involves collecting a stool sample from the patient, running it through a magnetic resonance spectrometer and using special computer software. To date, the new technique has produced 98 per cent accuracy.

Scientists hope that the option of a non-invasive procedure (which is also significantly cheaper than colonoscopy) will encourage more people to get the test done and identify cancerous and pre-cancerous cells so that they can be treated before the condition becomes more serious.