What is a stool DNA test?

Instead of looking for blood in the stool, a stool DNA test looks for certain abnormal sections of DNA (genetic material) from cancer or polyp cells. Colorectal cancer cells often contain DNA mutations (changes) in certain genes. Cells from colorectal cancers or polyps with these mutations are often shed into the stool, where tests may be able to detect them.
This is a newer type of test, and the best length of time to go between tests is not yet clear. This test is also much more expensive than other forms of stool testing.
The stool DNA test is not invasive and doesn't require any special preparation. But like other stool tests, if the results are positive, a colonoscopy will need to be done.
People having this test will receive a kit with detailed instructions from their doctor's office or clinic on how to collect the specimen. Always follow the instructions on your kit.
This test requires an entire stool sample. It is obtained using a special container, which is placed in a bracket that stretches across the seat of the toilet. You have your bowel movement while sitting on the toilet, making sure it goes into the container. You then place the container and an ice pack in a shipping box and close and label the box. The specimen must be shipped to the lab within 24 hours of having the bowel movement.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

The stool DNA test is a new test still undergoing development and is available but not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It detects certain biochemical markers characteristic of many different colon cancer types. The DNA damaged cells containing the markers are shed into stool, which you collect and send back to a lab for analysis.

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