Harry Connick, Jr. in Detroit to talk about new colon cancer screening tool

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Harry Connick, Jr. is an entertainer and musician, but he's not in Detroit performing.

Instead he's spreading the word that there is an alternative to colonoscopies and stressing the importance of getting screened.

"When you think what to do in the summertime I say I like Traverse City," Connick, Jr. said. "They say really? You go to Michigan? And I'm like when we play there we have a great time. Detroit is a great town.  When we come, we always have a great time here. So next time we come I'm going to show Jill around."  

But this trip is business. The business of saving people from cancer if it all possible.  The tool that singer and humanitarian Harry Connick Jr. and his wife are touting is here with Cologuard for colon cancer.  Cancer has been top of mind for both husband and wife for years.

"I had breast cancer five years ago," Jill Connick said. "It's just important to always go in for mammograms, sonograms if you need it. The fact is I caught mine early so I was stage one.  I'm cancer free now after five years. My messages early detection." 

And so they are touring the country not with a song or a bit, but an important message.  If you are weary of drinking the fluids and getting probed for a colonoscopy, Cologuard may be your remedy. 

"It's really as easy as using the restroom and that's it. You send the sample in and they send you our results in a couple of weeks," Connick Jr. said. "And it's very easy to do and very easy to understand. I'm really so happy that I found out about it, so Jill and I are going across the country telling people how important we think early detection and screening is."

"We tell all of our friends and retail random people, how old are you? Have you been tested yet? We do it all the time," Jill said.

 Dr. Howard Wright with Dearborn Family Clinic has many of his patients who have used it.  A third of Americans don't get screened.   

"There's 11 markers, including DNA markers, checking for blood and that tells us whether or not there's a problem," Wright said.  "We don't know whether it's polyps, we don't know if it's something more serious, but if we get a positive, you have to get a colonoscopy."  

Connick and his wife are also trying to tear down the stigma attached to digestive disorders. 

"Somebody asked me, aren't you embarrassed to talk about it," Connick Jr. said. "I'd rather talk about this then as you say, deal with the consequences of not talking about it. One in 23 people are going to be diagnosed with colon cancer. It is a terrible, terrible thing. Especially when 90 percent of these cancers can be cured if detected early."

The creators of Cologuard have more medical technology in the pipeline. 

"We're actually looking at using the technology for Cologuard for blood based test for other cancers and we have shown very positive data in our ability to detect liver cancer through a simple blood draw so we're just getting started."

For more information go to cologuardtest.com/