Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Colorectal Cancer Health Center

Font Size

New At-Home Colon Cancer Test: FAQ

WebMD Health News

Aug. 13, 2014 -- A new at-home colon cancer test that looks for DNA mutations in stool is more accurate than the stool test currently used, but it won’t replace colonoscopies, experts say.

The test, called Cologuard, is "another weapon in our arsenal for colon cancer screening," says James Lin, MD. He's a clinical assistant professor of gastroenterology at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center.

''Colonoscopies are still the gold standard," says Peter Galier, MD. He's a professor of medicine at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. In a colonoscopy, a flexible, lighted tube is used to examine the colon and rectum for anything usual.

Galier says the question that needs to be answered about the $599 Cologuard test is: How cost-effective is it?

WebMD asked these two experts -- who have no ties to the company making Cologuard -- and the test maker for more details.

More than 137,000 new cases of colon or rectal cancer are expected to be diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Early detection improves survival.

How does the test work?

Cologuard looks for mutations that have been linked with colorectal cancer in the blood and DNA of cells shed in the stool.

You don't have to restrict your diet or prep your bowel by drinking a large amount of liquid to make you go to the bathroom before the test, as before a colonoscopy.

You receive a collection kit that you use to collect two stool samples, one for DNA testing and one for blood testing. These samples are sent to a lab for processing and testing, which takes about 2 weeks. Your doctor gets the results.

How does it differ from other stool-based tests?

Other stool tests, including the fecal occult blood test (FIT) and fecal immunochemical test, work by detecting tiny amounts of blood in the stool that could indicate cancer or large polyps, growths that can develop into cancer. The other tests don't look at DNA.

How accurate is the new test?

According to the FDA, Cologuard spotted more cancers than the FIT test -- 92% of cancers compared to 74% by the fecal occult test -- in studies that included more than 10,000 people.

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
The right diagnosis is the most important factor.
man with a doctor
Our health check will steer you in the right direction.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
bladder cancer x-ray
Do you know the warning signs?
Colon vs Rectal Cancer
New Colorectal Treatments
can lack of sleep affect your immune system
Cancer Facts Quiz
Virtual Colonoscopy
Picture of the Colon
Vitamin D