Can Exact Sciences dominate the colon cancer screening field?

By Joe Tarr, Isthmus

Kevin Conroy, Exact SciencesDr. Richard Boland has been fighting a long battle against a stealthy foe — colon cancer.

If caught early, the disease is one of the easiest cancers to treat and has one of the highest survival rates. But, Boland laments, most people who get it will find out too late.

“Much like breast cancer, if you find it early, there’s a huge difference in outcome,” says Boland, chief of gastroenterology at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. “I’ve been working for 40 years on colon cancer. So I’m very excited to see a good test come along. The problem with colon cancer is it’s pretty common, about 5% of people get it, and it’s silent,” he says, meaning there are no symptoms early on, when treatment is likely to succeed.

Boland has watched for decades as scientists tried to develop a simple test that could determine who has the disease in the early stages.

At the moment, one of the most promising tests — Cologuard — is being marketed by Madison medical tech company Exact Sciences. The test has the potential not just to save millions of lives, but to make millions of dollars. That’s why Madison officials are thrilled that Exact Sciences might move its headquarters downtown, as part of a $186 million to $203 million Judge Doyle Square proposal. Read more …

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