Are You Ready to Test Your Stool?

Dutch scientists have created an improved stool test for detecting colon polyps.

A new test for poop could help catch colon cancer earlier

💩 Attention, attention! Dutch researchers have just come up with a new stool test that can detect colon polyps better than the current one! 🎉

Dr. Gerrit Meijer, the principle investigator at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam, said, “The current test performs well, but leaves room for improvement.” And improve they did!

You see, when it comes to colon cancer, detecting those tumors before they become invasive is crucial. That’s where this new test comes in. It can spot those larger premalignant polyps that could potentially turn into cancer. And if doctors can remove these polyps during a colonscopy, rather than through surgery, thousands of lives could be saved worldwide! 🌍

Each year, approximately 1.9 million people are diagnosed with colon cancer, and sadly, this disease claims the lives of 935,000 individuals. But here’s the good news: colon cancer is curable if detected early! So let’s take a closer look at this groundbreaking test.

The Battle of the Tests: mtFIT vs. FIT

In many countries where colon cancer screening programs are in place, the go-to test is called the fecal immunochemical test (FIT). It measures the presence of the blood protein hemoglobin. But now, the multitargetFIT-test (mtFIT), developed by Dr. Meijer and his team, takes things up a notch by measuring hemoglobin along with two other proteins. Talk about a supercharged test! 💪

After conducting a comparison study involving more than 13,000 participants in the Dutch national screening program, Dr. Meijer revealed that the new test detects cancer precursors more effectively. According to him, “Our results predict that the test can reduce the number of new cases of colorectal cancer and death rates resulting from it.” 📊

The best part? The new test is just as easy to use as the current one! It found abnormalities in 299 people, whereas the current FIT test only detected issues in 159 individuals. This difference mainly involved a high-risk precursor of cancer. So, with the new test, more larger polyps can be detected without a significant increase in false-positive results. Say goodbye to unnecessary colonoscopies! 👋

A Glimpse Into the Future

Now, you’re probably wondering just how many cases of colon cancer can be prevented with this incredible new test. Well, that’s a bit unclear. It actually depends on how different countries currently use the FIT test.

Based on the cutoffs used in The Netherlands, the new test has the potential to reduce colon cancer cases by a staggering 21% and decrease death rates by 18%, as estimated by Dr. Meijer. But in countries that already use a lower cutoff, the figures would be slightly lower. Nonetheless, we’re still looking at a significant reduction in cases and an increase in chances of survival. 🌟

And there’s more good news! Economically speaking, the new test could be cost-effective in both scenarios. So not only does it save lives, but it’s also easier on the pocketbook. Score! 💸

Waiting for the Game-Changer

Before we get too excited and start ordering the new test, there is a slight holdup. According to Dr. Meijer, the critical next step is to produce the test at an industrial scale in compliance with European diagnostic test guidelines. But fret not! A new company called CRCbioscreen has been launched with this exact purpose in mind. So, it won’t be long before this game-changer hits the market! ⏳

So, there you have it, folks! A revolutionary new stool test that could save lives and make colon cancer a thing of the past. Stay tuned for more updates, and don’t forget to share this exciting news with your friends. Let’s spread the word and make sure as many people as possible benefit from this breakthrough! 🙌

Q&A: More Burning Questions About Colon Cancer

Q: How effective is the current FIT test in detecting colon polyps? The current FIT test performs well but has room for improvement. It can detect some polyps, but the new mtFIT test has been shown to be more effective in detecting cancer precursors. 🎯

Q: Can the new test completely prevent colon cancer? Unfortunately, no test can completely prevent colon cancer. However, early detection can significantly increase the chances of successful treatment and increase survival rates. So, the new test is a big step in the right direction! 🔬

Q: How does the new mtFIT test compare to other screening methods, such as colonoscopies? Colonoscopies are considered the gold standard for detecting colon polyps and cancers. While the mtFIT test can identify larger polyps, it’s still important for individuals at average risk to undergo regular colonoscopies to catch any potential issues. The new test simply provides an additional tool for early detection. 🌟

Q: Are there any risks or side effects associated with the new mtFIT test? The new test is non-invasive, meaning it doesn’t involve any surgical procedures. It’s simply a stool test, so there are minimal risks or side effects. However, as with any medical test, it’s best to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your healthcare professional. 👩‍⚕️

Q: Will the new test be available worldwide? The goal is to make the new test available worldwide. However, there are still steps to be taken, such as producing the test at an industrial scale and complying with diagnostic test guidelines. The launch of CRCbioscreen is a promising sign that we’re on the right path! 🌍

References:

  1. Netherlands Cancer Institute news release on the new stool test
  2. Information on colon cancer screening
  3. The Lancet Oncology article on the comparison of the new mtFIT test and the current FIT test
  4. Slide presentation on colorectal cancer symptoms, signs, screening, and stages