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Low-cost, non-invasive alternative to colonoscopy


Narrator:       This is Science Today. In the United States, colonoscopy is considered the gold standard screening method for colorectal cancer. But despite its popularity, the high cost of the procedure has kept it out of reach for many low-income populations.  Now, doctors at the University of California, San Francisco, have adopted a low-cost, non-invasive alternative to colonoscopy, called fecal immunochemical test or FIT.

Allison:          Colonoscopy can be as expensive as $3,000 to $5,000. And so a lot of the people who are uninsured, underserved population don't have the resources to do that. An FIT test can be offered for less. In an underserved population, we are able to secure a rate that is between $5 and $7.

Narrator:       Researcher James Allison has implemented an FIT screening model at San Francisco General Hospital, which will target, screen and treat uninsured patients at no cost.

Allison:          I think this is going to be a great opportunity to level the playing field. The people who are in the uninsured, underserved population, they're going to get less of the advanced cancers. We're going to get cancers earlier and we're going to be able to prolong their life and keep them with their family.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.