After a more than one good friend got a diagnosis for colon cancer while still in their thirties, it seemed like a good thing to start asking my doctor about. Previous genetic screenings showed some moderate markers associated with the disease and with a willingness to spend some money to get checked, I thought it would be an easy process. It turns out, if you are under 45 it is surprisingly difficult to get even a moderate colon cancer screening done.
Cost of LetsGetChecked Vs. Everlywell vs. Cologuard
Most of the kits are designed as fecal sample tests, or poop tests, and can be done at home. So you would think that all it takes is to buy a test and take it at home. Sadly, some of the more popular tests on the market are prohibitively expensive or simply won’t let you take it if you are under 45. If you are just looking for a simple screening it is pretty straight forward to get a doctor to order something like Cologuard for you. But under 45 and without obvious symptoms, Cologuard is not covered by nearly any insurance and so you will wind up having to fork out over $600 to complete the test.
After passing on Cologuard I next found the Everlywell Colon cancer screening kit. This is a popular one and is even sold at some CVS and Walgreens stores. Sadly you can not even register your test kit if you are under 45 years old. This left me out $50, and led to our first review of the Everlywell Colon screening kit.
Finally I found LetsGetChecked. They offer a colon screening fecal immunochemical test (FIT) test that tests primarily for blood in the stool. This is different from the FIT test of Everlywell which monitors for actual cancerous DNA present in the stool. Still, as a test for the most common marker, and available over the counter for <$70 it seemed like a good option. You can get them cheaper if you want three of them, though it’s not really the type of test you would think to do on a monthly basis.
Thankfully any of these can be charged to an FSA if you have one. All of the places that sell Colorguard, Everlywell, or their own brand of test kit will be an easy approval, just remember to get the receipts. If you adhere to the idea that the best time to start investigating your health is now, then getting a test may be an option.
Taking the LetsGetChecked Colon Screening Test
The simple idea of trying to mail someone poop can bring on a bit of anxiety, but in practice the FIT stool sample test was easy and painless. The kit itself comes with a simple thick sheet of paper that you place directly into a toilet, right on top of the water. It acts as a barrier and then you simple go as you normally would. Next there is a sampling kit which is a paper clip sized rod that you swab into the stool. Once it is fully covered you stuff the small paperclip sized stick back into it’s holder and snap the lid. The whole process is sanitary and takes no more than a a few seconds.
The most complicated part of taking the test is trying to time things correctly. The labs that are used seem to only be open on certain days, and the kit includes next day air mailers. Instructions try to get you to take the sample at a time where you can quickly get the packet in the mail and to a lab while it is open and processing. This mostly means taking a sample in the morning on a Tuesday-Thursday so that it can get to the lab the follow day.
How Long Do LetsGetChecked Results Take
From start to finish it’s possible to order a test and get to results in under a week. My initially ordered test showed up 4 days after I ordered it. The box sat on my desk, for no reason other than simple procrastination of normal medical issues, for another week. Online the results say they will take anywhere from 2 to 5 days. Turn around time for results was only 2 days for my sample.
For my experience with taking a stool sample, the test was taken on a Tuesday and mailed, and an email landed on Thursday midmorning saying that I could log in and find results. This is especially good to know if you are already nervous about taking any of these tests. Even so, they are clear to note that “this test does not detect if you have colon cancer”, so if it’s simple peace of mind you are looking for it may take a bit longer to find a doctor to preform a colonoscopy.
LetsGetChecked Accuracy and Reliability
When it comes to actual testing having a reliable source is important. LetsGetChecked uses CLIA certified labs to process their tests. This means that ultimately there is FDA clearance on the lab conducting the tests.
It is worth noting that what LetsGetChecked produces often is not certifiable by the FDA. Most of their kits are made from medical grade off the shelf parts, but the actual test is what the FDA covers. In this respect the oversight is often passed to the lab, and that’s why using the FDA CLIA labs is the point of emphasis in their marketing materials.
The one test that is an anomaly is the LetsGetChecked Covid test. It was granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), which is currently the best clearance for any Covid Tests.