Last updated on Jun 22nd, 2021 at 11:37 am

A new option for colon cancer screening

Despite the colonoscopy being the gold standard in colon cancer screening, it is one of the most under-utilised screening procedures done in South Africa.

Not only is its low adoption rate a cause for concern, but this invasive, often painful and costly procedure, is dreaded by many. According to South African data, a colonoscopy costs anything between R6 000 and R14 000.

UDoTest has launched a simple do-it-yourself home screening test to detect colon cancer. The non-invasive UDoColonTest is 98% accurate in detecting cancerous and pre-cancerous risks and costs R1 179.

“Early detection is key to the progression and treatment of any disease,” says Allison Martin of UDoTest. “Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, non-cancerous clumps of cells called polyps, which over time may become cancerous. As they produce no symptoms, the sometimes lethal result isn’t addressed. For this reason, doctors recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colon cancer by identifying and removing polyps before they become dangerous.”

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How does it work?

The UDoColonTest is an easy-to-do pre-screen to the colonoscopy. If cancer risk is detected with the UDoColonTest, then a colonoscopy is recommended by a specialist.

This internationally approved Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) is highly sensitive in the detection of blood, in and around the stool, which is a key indicator of an abnormality in the colon and rectum. The convenient, faecal water-based collection method, allows patients to perform their colon cancer screening within 30 seconds, in the comfort of their own home.

The UDoColonTest is available online or at a leading national pharmacy chain. After a visit to the lavatory, you can use the long-handled blue brush supplied in the UDoColonTest pack to gently brush the surface of the stool in water for about five seconds. Once completed, log in online at and request collection from UDoTest at you convenience. Results are supplied within 10 working days from when the sample is received, via the user’s UDoTest online profile.

When using a UDoColonTest, no bowel preparation is required before the test is done, and there are also no special food or medication restrictions.

Who should use it?

American healthcare funders recommend that individual’s aged 50+ either do an annual FIT test or undergo a colonoscopy every five to 10 years. Clearly South Africa is entering a similar exciting era of colon cancer screening.

Recent data indicates that colon cancer infection in South Africa currently affects men and women of all ages but rises from mid-40s, and peaks at the age of 68. “South Africa has an aging population with 13 900 pensioners per every 100 000 people in the country,” says Martin. “With these figures, the risk in South Africa is high.”

Dr Reeve Charles Jobson, esteemed gastroenterologist at Sandton Clinic, is impressed that the FIT tests, used by millions in the USA, are now available in South Africa. Only if a FIT test comes back positive, is a colonoscopy recommended. “There is a need for additional screening in South Africa,” comments Dr Jobson.

What causes colon cancer?

The causes of colon cancer include age, lifestyle, genes and more, however, Dr Jobson has seen an increased diagnosis in overweight male smokers in his practice.

“It is important for patients to know if colon cancer has been prevalent in the family with either parent, and if it has then screening should occur 10 years before the parent’s index age. For example, if Mum was diagnosed at 50, then the son or daughter should be screened 10 years before the parent’s index age, namely 40.”

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