Colon cancer screening has existed for many years and is readily accessible to 90% of the United States’ population. The most common types of screenings for colon cancer are colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, digital rectal exams, and fecal blood tests. For those living in remote areas where modern healthcare is not easily accessible, the challenge has been that these tests are either not practical or, in the case of the fecal blood test, not conclusive due to secondary environmental factors.
Dr. David Ahlquist is a professor of medicine in the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Ahlquist and his team, while studying prevalent anemia among the Yupik Eskimos in Alaska, uncovered widespread stomach ulcerations among the native population. During this study his team also learned that native people in Alaska have one of the highest rates of colorectal cancer diagnoses and one of the lowest survival rates.
"Most native peoples in Alaska live so remotely, colonoscopy is simply not practical, and fecal blood testing is ineffective because nearly everybody's positive […]" (Source: Eradicating Colon Cancer: A Lofty Goal)
Dr. Ahlquist and his team of researchers may have found a solution to this problem, with use of a stool DNA test. In a recent clinical trial at multiple medical centers, the stool DNA test detected 85 percent of cancerous and 64 percent of precancerous polyps from the colon. On top of being accurate, the stool DNA test is also easy to administer since there is no patient preparation needed. Patients can even mail in the samples, which makes it perfect for scarcely populated locations, as found in parts of Alaska.
Clinical trials are a very important when it comes to cancer research. Every day these trials help provide information about cancer that will help develop the correct tools to diagnose earlier, treat cancer faster, and possibly even prevent the development of certain types of cancer. FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst, NC conducts clinical trials on a regular basis. We are currently conducting a drug trial in conjunction with UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center that is testing a new option for metastatic colorectal cancer (cancer that has spread).
Click here to learn more about this cancer clinical trial and others being conducted by FirstHealth in North Carolina.
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center in Pinehurst, NC provides clinical trials to find better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer.
For more information on participating in a clinical trial, contact us at (910) 715-2200 or talk to your doctor.