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New Survey: Patients and Physicians Overwhelmingly Agree Blood Tests Could Help Close the Colorectal Cancer Screening Gap

Findings from the first ‘Closing the Gap: CRC Screening Insights’ survey, released during National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, suggest more convenient blood-based testing could transform colorectal cancer screening by encouraging the 50 million Americans behind in screening to stay up to date

Guardant Health, Inc. (Nasdaq: GH), a leading precision oncology company, today announced the results of a new survey showing patients and physicians overwhelmingly agree that blood-based testing could help close the colorectal cancer (CRC) screening gap by offering a more pleasant and convenient option.

Conducted by The Harris Poll, the ‘Closing the Gap: CRC Screening Insights’ survey was commissioned by Guardant Health to better understand perceptions and attitudes impacting CRC screening adherence and the role of emerging technologies such as blood-based screening. The survey polled 1,000 American adults age 45-84, along with 351 physicians (250 primary care providers and 101 gastroenterologists).

In the United States, CRC screening guidelines recommend that all people of average risk begin screening starting at age 45. However, more than 50 million eligible Americans (42.6%) are not up to date with recommended screenings,1 often because they find current screening options unpleasant and inconvenient.

“Ninety percent of eligible Americans surveyed said they would be more likely to stay up to date with colorectal cancer screening if there were a blood test option, and the vast majority of physicians surveyed agreed,” said Craig Eagle, M.D., Guardant Health chief medical officer. “These survey results suggest the current screening gap could be closed with blood-based options like our Shield™ test, which could significantly increase screening adherence rates, leading to saved lives.”

“Although existing screening methods are effective when completed, there still are challenges around access and equity, especially among minority and other underserved communities. It is particularly alarming that almost a third of Americans are aware they are behind in screening, indicating an urgent need to spur them to action,” said Michael Sapienza, chief executive officer of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. “Providing options is necessary to increase the number of eligible adults receiving routine lifesaving screening for colorectal cancer, which is among the most treatable types of cancer when found early.”

‘Closing the Gap: CRC Screening Insights’ Survey Findings

  • Perceptions of existing screening methods hinder completion

    Among individuals who have not been screened, the perception that preparation for a colonoscopy is unpleasant was the most common barrier cited (47%) to completing a screening test. Other top barriers included concern around discomfort or pain during a colonoscopy (42%) or fear or anxiety around the screening process (35%).
  • Eligible Americans would be more likely to get screened with a blood test

    90% of eligible Americans would be more likely to stay up to date with screening if there were a blood test option, citing quicker, easier and more pleasant options (89%) as top motivators to complete recommended screening. Notably, 84% of people of color said convenient access to screening tests would motivate them to get screened compared to 75% of their white peers, further highlighting the role that blood testing could play in helping address existing screening disparities.
  • Physicians agree an FDA-approved blood test could help close the screening gap

    Similarly, primary care providers (97%) and gastroenterologists (91%) agree their patients would be more likely to stay up to date with screening if they had the option of a blood test, noting that they would anticipate a corresponding increase in compliance in that situation (98% and 97%, respectively). Ultimately, 96% of all physicians surveyed would recommend an FDA-approved blood test to their patients for CRC screening.
  • A disconnect exists between screening awareness and adherence

    Almost a third (30%) of screening-eligible Americans are aware they are not up to date with recommended CRC screening, suggesting that barriers associated with existing screening methods are impacting adherence. A more concerning finding is that over a quarter (26%) mistakenly think they are up to date, despite never having been screened.
  • Educating around the importance of early detection could help

    CRC is most treatable if caught early, with a 5-year survival rate of 91% for people with early stage, localized disease.2 However, 70% of surveyed Americans were unaware of this, with significantly more people of color (78%) unaware compared to their white peers (66%). This highlights an important opportunity for greater education to further motivate eligible Americans, particularly among underserved communities.

More information about blood-based screening for colorectal cancer can be found at

About Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States,3 responsible for an estimated 53,010 deaths in 2024.4 This type of cancer is highly treatable if caught early, yet despite multiple screening modalities available, over 50 million Americans remain unscreened.5 Screening rates are even lower in minority and underserved populations, despite the disproportionate impact of colorectal cancer on these communities.6 Screening can reduce colorectal cancer mortality by detecting cancer early, when treatment is more successful.7

About the Shield™ Test

The Shield test for colorectal cancer screening is commercially available for eligible individuals by prescription only through healthcare professionals. This LDT (Laboratory Developed Test) is intended to be complementary to, and not a replacement for, current recommended CRC screening methods. A negative result does not rule out the presence of cancer. Patients with an abnormal blood-based screening result should be referred for a diagnostic colonoscopic evaluation.

About Guardant Health

Guardant Health is a leading precision oncology company focused on guarding wellness and giving every person more time free from cancer. Founded in 2012, Guardant is transforming patient care by providing critical insights into what drives disease through its advanced blood and tissue tests, real-world data and AI analytics. Guardant tests help improve outcomes across all stages of care, including screening to find cancer early, monitoring for recurrence in early-stage cancer, and helping doctors select the best treatment for patients with advanced cancer. For more information, visit and follow the company on LinkedIn, X (Twitter) and Facebook.

About the Harris Poll

The Harris Poll is a global consulting and market research firm that strives to reveal the authentic values of modern society to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. It works with clients in three primary areas: building twenty-first-century corporate reputation, crafting brand strategy and performance tracking, and earning organic media through public relations research. One of the longest-running surveys in the U.S., The Harris Poll has tracked public opinion, motivations, and social sentiment since 1963.

The research was conducted online in the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of Guardant Health among 1,000 U.S. residents aged 45-84, 250 practicing Primary Care Physicians and 101 practicing Gastroenterologists. The survey was conducted January 26-February 9, 2024. Data are weighted where necessary by age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, education, marital status, household size, employment, and household income to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws, including statements regarding the potential utilities, values, benefits and advantages of Guardant Health’s liquid biopsy tests or assays, which involve risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially from the anticipated results and expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations, forecasts and assumptions, and actual outcomes and results could differ materially from these statements due to a number of factors. These and additional risks and uncertainties that could affect Guardant Health’s financial and operating results and cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this press release include those discussed under the captions “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation” and elsewhere in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2023, and any current and periodic reports filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission thereafter. The forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information available to Guardant Health as of the date hereof, and Guardant Health disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements provided to reflect any change in its expectations or any change in events, conditions, or circumstances on which any such statement is based, except as required by law. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing Guardant Health’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.



1 American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2020-2022.

2 American Cancer Society. Survival Rates for Colorectal Cancer. Accessed February 15, 2024.

3 Siegel RL, Giaquinto AN, Jemal A. Cancer statistics, 2024. CA Can J Clin. Published online January 17, 2024. doi:10.3322/caac.21820. Accessed February 21, 2024.

4 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2024. Accessed February 21, 2024. Accessed February 21, 2024.

5 American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2020-2022.

6 American Cancer Society. Colorectal Cancer Facts & Figures 2020-2022.

7 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2024. Accessed February 21, 2024.


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