Screening Can, And Does, Save Lives

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I am an optimistic person and often like to look for silver linings. While the pandemic completely flipped our world upside down, there were some very positive things that came from it. One particular silver lining was the emergence of at-home diagnostic tests, which in my opinion, have made people more comfortable with the idea of acquiring information about their health on their own and motivating many to take an active role in managing their wellbeing.

Research shows that regular approved screening protocols can often save people’s lives because it can enable people to find health issues and diseases before major symptom onset. For certain cancers specifically, routine screening can lead to an earlier diagnosis which can improve survival outcomes (essentially catching the cancer before it spreads). 

Let’s look at colon cancer, which you may have read about recently because it is the fourth-most common cancer (excluding certain kinds of skin cancer) in the U.S. in both men and women – and unfortunately celebrities like  Kristie Alley have recently succumbed to the disease.  According to Dr. Brooks Cash, who chairs Biomerica’s Colorectal Cancer Scientific Advisory Board, most colorectal cancer in its early stages does not present with symptoms, which is why screening for colon cancer at age 45 in average risk men and women is recommended. When symptoms do occur, they can include changes in bowel habits, changes in stool consistency, blood in the stool, and abdominal discomfort. While a colonoscopy is recommended every 10 years beginning at age 45, there are at-home screening options, as well.

Annual fecal occult blood tests (FOBT) are one of the recommended methods to screen for blood in the stool, which can be an early warning sign of colon cancer. However, people still hesitate to do them because no one wants to touch or handle their stool! Fortunately, there’s another option. My company, Biomerica, created a unique FOBT test called EZ Detect, which can be purchased on Amazon, Walmart, Walgreens, or on EZDetect.com for under $13.  This FDA-cleared test can be performed in the privacy of your home without having to touch or send your stool (which is required among other tests!).  

The results are also immediate, so you do not have to collect and mail a stool sample to a lab (which is required by all other tests). While everyone is familiar with colonoscopies (which should be performed every 10 years) as a screening option for colon cancer, not everyone knows that there are other less invasive and affordable options that can be performed annually and can help with early detection. If an at-home screening test indicates there is blood in the stool, then a follow-up with a doctor is necessary and a colonoscopy will likely be recommended at that time so a diagnosis can be provided.

When it comes to breast cancer, early detection and state-of-the-art treatment are two important strategies. According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors believe there is value in women being familiar with their own breasts, so they understand what’s normal and promptly report any changes that may find. Biomerica offers the Aware® Pad which is designed to enhance tactile sensitivity to feel changes in breast tissue when performing a breast self-exam. About 80% of breast cancers are detected because women themselves notice changes in their breasts!  Some doctors advise women to begin practicing breast self-exams at age 20 and continue to do them monthly. Aware® is FDA cleared and can be purchased for around $20 at Walmart online, Amazon or AwareBSE.com.

At Biomerica, I measure our success by positively impacting peoples’ lives and improving their health. I am proud that our company has created products that have made it easier for people to take charge of their own healthcare, affordably, through at-home tests. We plan to continue to bring innovative products to the market to help people live happier healthier lives!   

Mr. Irani has served as Biomerica’s Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer since 2010. Prior to that time, Mr. Irani served as the Company’s Vice President of Business Development. During fiscal 2008 and 2009, Mr. Irani also served as Chairman of the Board of Lancer Orthodontics, Inc. and served as Lancer’s Chief Executive Officer from April 1997 until April 2004.