Sunday, November 26, 2006

Brush and dab bests scoop and smear

Those of you of a 'certain age' are trying to come to grips with colon cancer screening. If you are like me (she says smugly), you've signed up for your colonoscopy or already have had it. If you're like me in 2005, you're fretting endlessly over whether or not to have a colonoscopy at all.

In the a-little-is-better-than-none-at-all world of colon cancer screening, perhaps you have agreed to have your stool analyzed for occult blood. The rationale behind stool testing is that precancerous polyps or early colon cancers tend to bleed in a microscopic sort of way. So even though you can't see it, special tests can detect even small amounts of blood in your solid waste.

A recent study out of Australia suggests that scraping at your stool and smearing it on a card is yesterday's news, and thank heavens for that. Instead, a tidy little test called InSure which allows you to swish a brush over your production as it sits in the toilet and then dab the results onto a mailing card is not only more agreeable to perform but more accurate.

The InSure test was half again more likely to detect a cancer and nearly twice as likely to detect a complex polyp called an adenoma--a colonic goomba with cancerous potential. So until you get up the nerve to go for the scope, request the InSure test for your annual close encounter of the turd kind.

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