February is World Cancer Day and National Prevention Month.  I look forward to the day that we are no longer talking about cancer and how the rates are climbing especially in our younger generation.  I’m ready to drop the C out this word which just leaves “ancers”.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  But that day is not today and as a cancer thriver myself I always stop and take note of cutting edge technology.  I still want the “answers” and I really want prevention but while we are waiting on those, early detection continues to be oh so important.

This is why the following early detection tests are recommended:

  • Pap smears
  • Mammograms
  • Pelvic exams
  • Prostate exams
  • Colonoscopies

Studies show a higher 5 year survival rate of 89% if cancer is detected when localized.  A whopping 71% of cancer deaths are due to cancers without screening tests. And yet, even with screenings tools we miss so many cancers until too late.  Oral cancer continues to surprise us as well as pancreatic, esophageal, lymphoma, lung, ovarian, stomach and on and on and on.

Over the years, I have seen many tests trying to detect cancer early.  These tests were fraught with inaccuracy or inability to pinpoint type of cancer.  When Galleri by Grail Multi-cancer Early Detection test came out I watched it with speculation and wanted to see more data.

While no screening test is 100%, we still do them.  The positive predictive value is the number of cancers diagnosed with number of biopsies recommended.  However, we don’t have any screening tests for many, many cancers which is why they get diagnosed so late.

  • The Galleri test has a positive predictive value of testing of an impressive 43% which is more than mammograms and similar to colonoscopies!
  • False positive rate of 0.5%
  • Able to pick up many cancers that don’t have screening tools like pancreatic, esophageal, ovarian, stomach and more
  • It is a simple blood test
  • Cost is only $969 (insurance is not covering it at this time)

READ ON to learn more

**We are offering this test in our office.  If you are our patient please call to schedule the lab draw and review of results.  Also, Galleri does have a website that you can order this test yourself directly.  Just go to their website and follow the links to order.  If you are over 50 and order by Feb 29 you can receive $100 off of the test by entering the Galleri Key:  24FEB100

The Galleri test uses technology that detects DNA methylation patterns which are specific for the type of cancer.  This is one reason why it can tell you what cancer it is.  Cancer cells shed this DNA into our blood stream long before it is big enough to be detected on scans.  There are large clinical trials with over 20K participants evaluating this technology and there is a 3 year ongoing trial in Britain going even deeper.  Suspicions are that the predictive value of this test is higher than 44% and the reason is when you turn up a positive test and do the scans etc to find the cancer it might be detecting it so early that it doesn’t show on scans….yet.  This ongoing study will help answer this question!

Cancers grow at different rates.  Slower growing cancers shed less methylated DNA than fast growing cancers so it just makes sense that this test excels with the fast growing cancers and is not as good with slow growing.

Examples of cancers this test has a high sensitivity for include:

  • Liver/bile duct
  • Head and neck
  • Esophagus
  • Pancreas
  • Ovary
  • Colon/rectum
  • Anus
  • Cervix
  • Urothelial tract
  • Lung
  • And more
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It is not as good for the following:

  • Anything in the brain (this is a closed system so only a spinal tap would be able to access this fluid)
  • Thyroid (thyroid cancers are typically encapsulated)
  • Prostate – typically slow growing. If this has turned aggressive then it may pick it up
  • Kidney – again encapsulated
  • Uterine
  • Breast – typically slow growing but can pick up if turned aggressive
  • Bladder

Who should not do this test?

  • This test is recommended for people 50 and older however it can be done in younger individuals especially if a strong family history or concerns.  This is not a test for anyone under the age of 21.
  • If you are going thru cancer treatment.
  • If you have had cancer in the last 3 years that was active.  It can screen for other cancers but may still show positive for the original cancer due to the cell shedding.

What do the results look like?

Your result will simply say No cancer signal detected or Cancer signal detected.

If you have a cancer signal detected then it will say cancer cell origin like pancreas, gallbladder etc.  At that time, appropriate testing will be started to see if a cancer can be detected.  If not, then continued monitoring will be put in place.

This is obviously a major decision.  We do cancer screening tests on a routine basis in other areas maybe this should be part of our yearly checkup!

We are now offering this test to our patients.  If you would like to do this then call and schedule a blood draw and follow up appointment to review the results today.

To your health,




 Important Safety Information.

The Galleri test is recommended for use in adults with an elevated risk for cancer, such as those aged 50 or older. The

Galleri test does not detect all cancers and should be used in addition to routine cancer screening tests recommended by a healthcare provider. Galleri is intended to detect cancer signals and predict where in the body the cancer signal is located. Use of Galleri is not recommended in individuals who are pregnant, 21 years old or younger, or undergoing active cancer treatment.

Results should be interpreted by a healthcare provider in the context of medical history, clinical signs and symptoms. Atest result of “No Cancer Signal Detected” does not rule out cancer. A test result of “Cancer Signal Detected” requires confirmatory diagnostic evaluation by medically established procedures (e.g. imaging) to confirm cancer. If cancer is not confirmed with further testing, it could mean that cancer is not present or testing was insufficient to detect cancer, including due to the cancer being located in a different part of the body. False-positive (a cancer signal detected when cancer is not present) and false-negative (a cancer signal not detected when cancer is present) test results do occur. Rx only.

Laboratory / Test Information

GRAIL’s clinical laboratory is certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) and

accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP). The Galleri test was developed, and its performance

characteristics were determined by GRAIL. The Galleri test has not been cleared or approved by the Food and Drug

Administration. GRAIL’s clinical laboratory is regulated under CLIA to perform high-complexity testing. The Galleri test isintended for clinical purposes.