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Colon Cancer Screening: Any Test Better Than No Test at All

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"My primary care physician lacked an understanding about colon cancer, but even those who do know about the disease often don't think about it when a younger person presents with symptoms," he says.

Hawk says new techniques may soon make the testing decision much less complicated for both patients and doctors. He points to a preliminary study, published recently by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., showing that DNA abnormalities specific to colon cancer can be measured through stool testing -- an indication that DNA testing may one day be an options. More studies of the technique are underway.

"If this turns out to be an accurate test to identify cancer and polyps through a stool-based method, it should greatly improve compliance," Hawk says. "Stool based tests are in many ways more attractive than endoscopic tests."

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