There are three main ways to detect colon cancer. A colonoscopy is accurate but expensive ($2,200 on average). A fecal immunochemical test, which looks for hidden blood in a stool sample, costs about $60 but is more likely to miss cancer and must be taken every year. Then there is Exact’s Cologuard for $649.
Like the immunochemical test, Cologuard uses a stool sample collected by the patient and checks for hemoglobin. It also looks for an assortment of aberrant DNA sequences that are likely to occur in cancerous and precancerous cells. Result: high enough sensitivity that patients can take the test only once every three years.