ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado doctors say they are seeing an increase in the number of patients using at-home medical tests, and that includes colon cancer screenings like Cologuard.

Dr. Scott Joy, the chief medical officer of HealthONE Physician Services Group, said he’s seen a 39% increase in the number of tests his office sends out to people’s homes since the start of the pandemic.

Joy said colon cancer screenings are recommended for people ages 45 to 75. A colonoscopy is still the gold standard, he said, but that procedure can seem daunting to patients. It requires prep work with dietary restrictions, and generally a level of sedation for the screening.

So now, more of Joy’s patients are choosing Cologuard, an at-home, non-invasive test.

“We have a lot of people that come into my practice and say, ‘I can’t miss a day of work to get a colonoscopy done, be observed. I have problems finding transportation from the lab to home.’ So, if they don’t have any high-risk factors, this is a very appropriate test for them,” Joy said.

Peter Frohmader is one of the patients who recently used Cologuard.

“It came right to my house,” Frohmader said. “The kit is very self-explanatory, very easy to use. You provide a stool sample,” he said. 

Instructions show how to collect the sample, seal it and mail it.

The process may seem odd, but Cologuard says it finds 92% of cancers and most patients pay nothing. A positive result requires a follow-up colonoscopy.

“I think this is a painless, easy way for us to have peace of mind,” Frohmader said.

Colon cancer is on the rise in people under age 50, but when caught early, it is treatable in 90% of people.  That’s why screening is so important.