A Blood Test That Will Screen for Colorectal Cancer Could Be Approved in 2024, New Study Says

The test would not replace a colonoscopy, researchers said

<p>Getty</p> A stock image of blood analysis.


A stock image of blood analysis.

A blood test that will screen for colorectal cancer could be approved this year, according to a new study.

Earlier this week, the findings, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that a blood test called Shield from Guardant Health was highly effective in finding colorectal cancers. It would not replace a colonoscopy, however.

The study involved 7,861 people from the United States, who had both a colonoscopy — a medical procedure that uses a camera to look for issues in the large intestine and rectum — and a blood test.

The blood test, the study said, caught 83% of the cancers found by colonoscopy, but it missed 17%. Meanwhile, for the 10% of individuals whose colonoscopy results found nothing, the blood test falsely determined they might have colon cancer.

<p>Guardant Health</p> Guardant Health's Shield test

Guardant Health

Guardant Health's Shield test

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Currently, the Shield blood test is already for sale in the U.S. for $895, the Associated Press reported, though it is not covered by most insurance companies.

It also has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), though Guardant Health anticipates a decision will be made sometime later this year, the outlet said.

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Should the blood test be approved by the FDA, it would be administered every three years, starting at age 45, according to NBC News.

Those with colon cancer symptoms and risk factors — including a family history of the disease — would still need a colonoscopy, per the outlet.

<p>Getty</p> A stock image of a doctor


A stock image of a doctor

Related: Taylor Dayne Reveals 'Dark' Battle with Colon Cancer: 'This Has Challenged Me Mentally, Emotionally'

Colorectal cancer, which typically affects older adults, "begins as small clumps of cells called polyps that form inside the colon," according to the Mayo Clinic.

While polyps generally aren't cancerous, they can eventually turn into cancer over time, the organization adds. They usually don't show symptoms, which is why regular screening tests to find and remove polyps helps to prevent illness.

Per Cancer.org, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and the third worldwide.

Colorectal cancer screening is recommended starting at age 45, the American Cancer Society says. However, fewer than 60% of people who are eligible are up to date on their exams.

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