Exact Sciences Corp. today announced that Group Health Cooperative will be the first health plan in Wisconsin to offer Cologuard® to its patients. Cologuard is the first and only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, noninvasive stool DNA screening test for colorectal cancer. Cologuard will be available to patients as part of their current laboratory benefits, covered by Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin (GHC-SCW), and can be prescribed by their primary care physicians.
Cologuard offers people 50 years and older who are at average risk for colorectal cancer an easy to use screening test which they can do in the privacy of their own home. Cologuard has been proven to find 92 percent of colorectal cancers in average risk patients with 87 percent specificity. Unlike many other screening options, Cologuard does not require medication, dietary restrictions or bowel preparation prior to taking the test. It is the first noninvasive screening test for colorectal cancer that analyzes both stool-based DNA and blood biomarkers to detect cancer and precancer. The Cologuard technology platform was co-developed by Exact Sciences Corp. and the Mayo Clinic.
“At Group Health Cooperative, we take pride in offering the most advanced cancer detection technology available,” said Kevin Hayden, Chief Executive Officer of Group Health Cooperative. “With colorectal cancer in particular, a high level of non-compliance with existing screening options has hampered our ability to identify the disease in its early stages when it is most treatable. As an accurate and patient-friendly screening option, Cologuard represents a significant advance in the fight against colorectal cancer. Making Cologuard available will hopefully encourage patients to get regular screenings and, in turn, improve survival rates for this preventable cancer.”
Colorectal cancer is highly preventable with screening. However, twenty-three million Americans between 50 and 75 are not getting screened as recommended and, as a result, colorectal cancer remains the second-leading cancer killer in the United States. For those whose cancer is detected at an earlier stage, the five-year survival rate can be greater than 90 percent.
“Exact Sciences is proud to be a Wisconsin-based company, making it especially fitting that one of the first health plans and clinics in the country to offer and cover Cologuard be in our own backyard,” said Kevin Conroy, president, CEO and chairman of Exact Sciences Corp. “We look forward to working with Group Health Cooperative to give patients in Wisconsin access to this important new cancer screening technology.”
Cologuard is designed to detect DNA alternations and blood released from cancer and precancerous colon lesions. The test requires a physician order. After the physician orders Cologuard, the kit is mailed directly to the patient’s home. The patient then collects a stool sample in the Cologuard Collection Kit and sends the kit back to the Exact Sciences lab for testing through a pre-paid mailer. Patients learn of their results in as little as two weeks from their physician. Patients with a positive result will need to undergo colonoscopy.
Cologuard will be available to patients through their current laboratory benefits, covered by Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin (GHC-SCW), through their primary care physicians. Rx only.
For more information, visit www.CologuardTest.com or call 1-844-870-8870. More information on colon cancer and the importance of screening and early detection at http://www.beseengetscreened.com/. Visit www.exactsciences.com to sign up for the company’s eNewsletter.
– Originally posted by Exact Sciences