Spike in Referral Cases Prompt University Gastroenterology to Encourage Colorectal Cancer Screenings

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Oct. 22, 2019) — Physicians at University Gastroenterology (UGI) are raising awareness about screening options for colorectal cancer amid a spike in cases where Cologuard should not have been prescribed. Medical staff at UGI have also expressed concern about the multi-million dollar public relations campaign to promote Cologuard, which could deter patients from seeking more effective cancer screening tests.

In an effort to address the growing issue, University Gastroenterology is launching its own campaign about the need for regular colorectal cancer screenings once patients reach age 50. One of the most important messages about UGI’s public health effort is to inform patients and primary care physicians that Cologuard is not an appropriate test for everyone.

University Gastroenterology wants the public to be aware of the following issues related to colonoscopy and Cologuard:

  • Colonoscopy is the gold standard because it is the only screening test that detects and prevents cancer.
  • Cologuard is only approved for average-risk patients age 50 years and older and is not intended to replace diagnostic colonoscopy or surveillance colonoscopy in high-risk patients.
  • A 2014 study involving 10,000 patients, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that Cologuard missed 1 in 13 patients who had colorectal cancer that was found by a colonoscopy.
  • Cologuard also missed more than 30 percent of polyps that will become cancer, and almost 60 percent of larger polyps that may become cancer.
  • The U.S. Multi-Society Task Force on Colorectal Cancer (MSTF) ranked Cologuard as a second-tier screening test. MSTF recommends that physicians first offer colonoscopy, followed by annual Fecal immunochemical test (FIT) for patients who decline colonoscopy, followed by second-tier tests for patients who decline annual FIT.

About University Gastroenterology

University Gastroenterology is a specialty group that provides patients with friendly, cutting edge care for diseases of the liver and gastrointestinal tract. UGI doctors are regionally recognized for their expertise in general gastroenterology, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, and therapeutic endoscopy. The multi-disciplinary group has major campuses in Providence, East Greenwich, and Portsmouth. Each campus houses a state-of-the-art ambulatory Endoscopy Center that provides a caring and cost effective environment. UGI also provides inpatient consultative services at Rhode Island Hospital, Miriam Hospital, Kent County Hospital, Newport Hospital, and Roger Williams Hospital. Referrals are welcome.