New blood test would screen for 50 kinds of cancers at once

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You may soon be able to get a blood test that will screen for 50 kinds of cancer all at once. The new test is called “Galleri”, and is expected to be available by this summer, said Dr. Christopher Keir, an oncologist and vice president of Medical Affairs with GRAIL, the company that developed the test.

“Right now there are only five current standards of screening,” he said. “Unfortunately about 70 percent of the people who will die of cancer this year, die from cancers that we don’t have a current screening method for.”

Keir said Hoosiers should be concerned about cancers, particularly lung and breast cancer, two of the biggest killers in the state.

“If we think about the numbers about 39,000 people will have a new diagnosis of cancer there and in Indiana about 13,500 deaths will occur because of cancer (this year),” he said.

Keir said the Galleri test could help cut down on the number of people who die by catching the cancers early. Keir said many of the cancers go undetected now because there are no screens for them.

“Pancreatic and ovarian cancers are both signals that we pick up, along side the cancers that currently have screening guidelines, such as colon and cervical, breast and certain types of lung cancer,” said Keir.

He said one of the best parts about the test is not only that it can detect cancer in the blood, but can guide doctors more accurately to find the cancer.

“The healthcare provider will receive the results saying that they see a cancer signal but they also tell the physician where to look.”

Keir said the test will first be available to people with group health coverage with large companies and from certain specialists, but you can learn about the test by asking your doctor or by visiting www.GRAIL.com/Galleri .

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