Video: UofL Today with Dr. Susan Galandiuk, new blood test screening for colorectal cancer

Published on April 29, 2016

Dr. Susan Galandiuk, director of Colon and Rectal Surgery in the Department of Surgery at UofL School of Medicine, and a colorectal surgeon with UofL Physicians, is working on a new screening process for colorectal cancer, a blood test to identify colon polyps or cancers so those who need a colonoscopy can be better targeted.

Dr. Galandiuk said medicine is lagging behind right now for those who should be screened, and many people aren't getting a colonoscopy.

A colonoscopy identifies and treats polyps, which later can turn into cancer. Because people don't have screening tests, we have a high rate of colorectal cancer in Kentucky.

A blood test was just approved by the FDA recently, but the screening test Dr. Galandiuk is working on will actually be better than that. 

How is this test different from the blood test that was recently approved by the FDA?

It has a much higher accuracy rate and targets polyps, in addition to cancer. The blood test recently approved by the FDA only identifies cancer, not polyps. A team is working hard on it, but the test won't be available for several years because it must go through trials. Doctors are also working to miniaturize the blood test so it can be used in any doctors' office. Dr. Galandiuk says she is hopeful it will be ready and approved for use in the next four to five years.

Why is a blood test better?

A blood test is much easier and you don't have to drink anything to clean you out, which is the "worst part, it's not the procedure," interviewer Mark Hebert said. If the blood test comes back identifying polyps or cancer, then you would have the colonoscopy to remove it. Otherwise, your doctor would tell you to come back in three to five years for another blood test screening.

What are the survivial rates?

If colorectal cancer is diagnosed early, the chance of surviving is very high. If it's diagnosed later, survival depends on how much the cancer has already spread.

Who should be screened?

Anyone over age 50 should be screened. If you have a family history of colorectal cancer, you should be screened more often. In addition, if you have a change in bowel habits that last more than one month, you should be screened right away.

Learn More

To learn more about colonoscopies, read our blog on No Appointment Needed:  "The Test We Love To Hate."

To learn more about Dr. Susan Galandiuk visit her profile here: www.uoflphysicians.com/1447220447-susan-galandiuk.

To learn more about UofL Physicians - Colon and Rectal Surgery or to schedule a colonoscopy, call 502-583-8303 or visit www.uoflphysicians.com/colon-rectal-surgery.