(NewsNation) — Experts say detecting cancer early is important, and it’s easier now with new technology. One test, the Galleria Test by the company Grail, can detect over 50 different types of cancer using a single blood draw.
How does it work?
According to its website, the Galleri test has to be ordered by a healthcare provider. Patients would then schedule a blood draw, with results ready about two weeks after the test.
The Galleri Test looks for signals present in the blood that might be associated with cancer.
Dr. Thom Lobe, medical director of Regeneveda Chicago, said cancers give off a certain type of DNA that can be found in people’s blood.
“It’s like the fingerprints of cancer in your bloodstream,” Lobe said. “That’s what it’s measuring.”
People can get two types of results from Galleri. These are Cancer Signal Detected, which requires another evaluation to confirm the results; and Cancer Signal Not Detected, which means there’s less than a 5% chance of cancer somewhere in the patient’s body. Should the test detect a cancer signal, Galleri can predict where in the body it is coming from.
Not all cancers can be detected by the Galleri test, it said on the website. It is intended to be used in addition to other tests doctors recommend.
How much does it cost?
A: The list price on Galleri’s website is $949, though it notes the cost may vary depending on the healthcare practice or provider who orders the test. It is not covered by insurance, but there are payment plans available. People might also be able to use pre-tax dollars in their flexible spending or health savings account to pay for the Galleri test.
Why is screening for cancer early so important?
Lobe said it’s never too early to get screened for cancer.
“Once you detect it, and pursue the diagnosis and take care of something early, you can nip it in the bud,” he said. “If you detect cancer late, your mortality is about 79%. If you detect it early, that mortality goes down to about 11% or less.”
About 71% of cancer deaths are caused by cancers not commonly screened for, Galleri said.
Who should get screened for cancer?
The Galleri test in particular is recommended for use in adults with an elevated risk of cancer, such as those 50 or older. Those with a risk factor for cancer in their family history should get a test annually, Lobe said.
“Regular screenings are important, and they’re part of our or medical establishment as a routine,” he added. “Not everybody does them, of course. But we should.”
NewsNation anchor Adrienne Bankert took her own Galleria Test, and read her results live on air: Cancer signal not detected.
Bankert said the results made for a great early birthday present.
“I’m extremely happy,” she said. “I think that a lot of people would find some relief in at least getting used to getting an annual screening.”