Question about Cologuard

That was my understanding - it’s looking for precancerous cells DNA, and for some reason red meat residue might mess that up. I try to imagine how advanced your colon cancer has to be when it is leaking blood, but I’m assuming that’s perhaps a bit too late.

I loves me some Mike Rowe & Dirty Jobs but somehow I missed those episodes. Time to go hunting…

Reviving this old thread to note that my GP is sending me a Cologuard kit at my request. I’m trying to catch up on routine medical stuff that I’ve put off during the pandemic, and it has been ten years since my first colonoscopy. Time to try Cologuard!

I just watched the video on how to collect the specimens, and I’m not looking forward to digging around in my own poop. Also, how do you poop a certain amount and no more into that bucket? I’ve no way of portioning it out as I do it.

But it still beats doing the two-day colonoscopy thing, not to mention finding someone to take a day off to drive you to and from the gastroenterologist.

Free advice:
I highly recommend a half-mask respirator with organic vapor cartridges. Go to Home Depot or the hardware store and tell them you plan to do some spray painting and want a suitable respirator. As a bonus, such a respirator is great for cleaning the bathroom, as it keeps you from inhaling noxious cleaning chemicals.

The other tip? Keep the lid on the container as much as you can; take it off only to collect the wand sample or to pour in the preservative.

As for, um, quantity control, well, that’s up to you; you’ll just have to pinch it off mid-loaf, so to speak. It’s all the same muscle group that you use to suddenly stop peeing. The whole process is kind of undignified, but it beats a colonoscopy by a long shot.

I found it worthwhile to limit intake (the prior evening’s dinner) rather than to try to manage output … if you get my drift.

Not the right time for that all-you-can-eat buffet you dream of.

I thought the whole thing was a nothing-burger. So did my wife when she did hers. I think there’s an anticipation piece, but … really … it was simple, painless, and nowhere near as noxious as I expected.

But … then … my poop doesn’t stink. Just ask me :wink:

Definitely it’s better if you do yours and let your spouse do theirs, rather than switching up the duty.


The family that poops together stays together.

is not a popular saying for a reason.

Sounds like the fecal occult blood test, versus the formal Cologard - which is a newer procedure, and presumably more accurate.

I had to do the occult blood test a few decades ago, as part of a company-sponsored physical. I was annoyed at the “no red meat” bit but the doctor said “just don’t eat RAW meat!”. Not a problem. A co-worker of mine quipped “you’d better believe i did not lick THAT envelope!”.

Jealous of those of you who get to do Cologard etc - as one on the wrong side of the risk spectrum, it ain’t for me.

If you can find a doctor willing to do a colonoscopy without sedation, you can drive yourself there and back, and it doesn’t take very long. You do still need to fast the day before, and spend a night on the toilet cleaning stuff out, of course.

How painful or uncomfortable is an unsedated colonoscopy?

I found it uncomfortable and crampy. I would not describe it as painful. It was less crampy than the part of labor before they want to give you any drugs, fwiw.

And I thought a couple of minutes of discomfort was completely worth not losing a day to sedation. I know some people like how the sedation feels, but I felt lousy, and really felt like I’d lost an entire day. Whereas after the unsedated colonoscopy I drove to a friend’s house and played board games.

I didn’t have any problem with it. When they inflated my bowel it felt really weird and none of it was pleasurable, but uncomfortable rather than painful,

Nope, they are using a Fecal Immunochemical (FIT) test as of last year for anyone over 50, at least in Ontario where I am. They have dropped the older fecal occult blood test.

We get a little container and a plastic toothpicky thing. A tiny sample goes into a little sample box and drop it in the mail. They are looking for cancer DNA.

I had a clean test, but due to a history of IBS and familial colon cancer my GP still wanted a colonoscopy. Since they found (and removed) a polyp, I’m ineligible for repeat FIT and need a colonoscopy in 5 years.

I stand (er, sit?) corrected!! Similar concept, logistically, if otherwise a very different test :smiley:

Well, no one works at Cologuard; rather, the employees work for Exact Sciences. I know this because I have a bunch of friends who work there. I hear the poop jokes never end.

One mechanical engineer I worked with got poached for big money to design lab robots (which is what we did when we worked together for a different company). Humans are terrible at consistency, so you’d want lots of robots anyway. But there’s a strong additional incentive due to the biohazard/ick factors.

The poop-processing situation is highly automated, but I expect someone still has to open those buckets.

I’m a mechanical engineer now, but from 18-20 I unloaded trucks for UPS. I shudder at the thought of the inevitable mishandled Cologuard packages. Even one crushed sample a week would be a foul, annoying mess.

So what’s the distinction between Cologuard and FIT? With the FIT you just need smears. Sound like you’re saying the CG uses a more substantial sample. Erk…

I received the kit yesterday, watched the how-to video again, and did a successful specimen collection this morning. I just have to drive to the UPS office and hand it off to the unlucky workers there.

A couple of notes: that guy in the how-to video has, um, a looser sample than I was able to produce. I did my darnedest to use that wand, but I couldn’t get as much on it as shown in the video. I did my best.

And the inner ziploc bag that remains attached to the inside of the mailing box was defective. It wouldn’t zip closed again. I had to leave it open, and put a note inside telling them that it wouldn’t work. Hope the sample doesn’t leak! I screwed down the lid on that bucket thing good and tight.

So, done and done. It was easy and not as gross as I feared.

Not that bad. It hurts a bit going in, because they fill the colon with air. You can help a bit by pressing your stomach where it hurts. Then when they have reached the end, they pull the colonoscope out, and that is when they inspect the colon. It take a longer time, but are not painful. They pull much of the air out on the way, too.

I’ve still got a few years until I need another colonoscopy and will keep this in mind if I can’t convince someone to give me a ride from the clinic. (I had a co-worker do this the one time I had a colonoscopy.)

I agree that I found it uncomfortable when they shoved the scope up, but really not uncomfortable at all as they pulled it out. And I enjoyed watching the exam.

And my Cologuard results are in! Negative! I don’t have to do that for another few years. Yay!