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Stool test good for catching colon cancer: study


5 Star


Stool test good for catching colon cancer: study

Our Review Summary

Maybe somebody is paying attention to our criteria checklist. As you read this story, one by one, they are addressed (except for one).


Why This Matters

It is important to remind consumers that there is good evidence for what stool tests – especially the newer versions – can accomplish.  From a public health perspective – looking at population-wide benefits – they make a great deal of sense because you can reach large numbers of people at low cost.

Oftentimes, colonoscopy dominates the discussion about colon cancer screening, when, in fact, there are many reasons to shine more of the attention on the stool test.


Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?


Costs of FOBT and of colonoscopy were included.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


Sensitivity and specifity of the test were explained very well.

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?


Unlike many stories on screening tests, this one included information on false positive findings and the need for further testing. Story was careful to include the fact that in the study 10% of all participants had a false-positive finding on the stool test.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?


Thorough analysis of how the study was done, including easy to understand discussion of sensitivity and specificity.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?


No disease mongering.  Appropriate lifetime risk stats were cited.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Not Satisfactory

We wish the story had included an interview with a US screening expert or a member of the US Preventive Services Task Force.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?


Good comparisons between the newer FOBT test, the older stool test, and colonoscopy.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?


The story explains that immunochemical FOBT is now largely replacing the older blood stool test.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?


The growing popularity of the FOBT test…and that this study addresses the fact that “there’s been surprisingly little evidence that it really is highly specific to colon cancer were established in the story.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?


The story did not rely solely on a news release.

Total Score: 9 of 10 Satisfactory


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