The stool screening test for early cancer detection has reemerged. Cologuard requires the donation of a stool sample and does not require special dietary restrictions. It is 92% accurate for detecting cancer, but detected less than half of advanced precancerous lesions. Cost is about $600.

Qwest Labs has another test called the Septin-9. This blood test is very convenient, requires no dietary restrictions but is only 70% accurate. The cost is about $600.

The test I have used for years is the Fecal Immunochemical Test (FITs) and does not require special dietary preparation. This test is about 74% accurate and costs around $50.

Current guidelines by the American College of Gastroenterology recommend colonoscopy starting at age 50 and repeating every 10 years. When colonoscopy is not available or the patient declines the procedure, guidelines recommend annual fecal occult blood tests. Some guidelines now recommend computed tomography colonography every 5 years as another alternative test for average risk patients. Beware of the high radiation levels with this form of cancer screening