How to stay proactive about your health with multi-cancer early detection screening
Posted: December 30, 2022 | Word Count: 977
There are many ways to be proactive about staying healthy—from having a balanced diet and getting enough sleep to exercising.
Having recommended cancer screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies is another way to take control of your health. These single-cancer screenings can find specific cancers at earlier stages, before someone experiences symptoms.
Today, there are only five recommended cancer screenings available in the U.S.—for breast, cervical, colorectal, lung (smokers or former smokers at risk) and prostate cancers. Unfortunately, no widespread screening tests are recommended for most other types of cancer. As a result, cancer is often detected too late, after it’s progressed to a more advanced stage.
Finding cancer early can improve cancer outcomes. In fact, the 5-year cancer-specific survival rate is just 21% for cancers that are detected after they have metastasized (spread). For cancers that are detected while they are still localized (haven’t yet spread), the 5-year survival rate is more than four times higher, at 89%.
Additional tools are needed, as cancers without recommended screenings represent approximately 70% of cancer deaths.
Screening More Broadly for Cancer
Multi-cancer early detection (MCED) tests are a new way to screen people for cancer that are used in addition to recommended cancer screenings. One MCED test, Galleri®, detects a shared cancer signal across more than 50 types of cancer through a simple blood draw. The test analyzes DNA in the blood to detect a signal associated with cancer and predicts the location of the signal, helping to inform next steps in confirming if the person has cancer.
“MCED tests are going to be a game changer for cancer screening. As an adjunct to standard of care screening tests, MCED tests broaden our ability to detect cancers in asymptomatic people that are not covered by current screening guidelines. They give healthcare providers a powerful new tool for patient care,” said Dr. Eric M. Klein, Emeritus Chair of the Glickman Urology & Kidney Institute and professor of surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. “These tests are leading the way to the future for cancer screening—screening individuals for cancer instead of screening for individual cancers.”
Proven Benefits of MCED
A recent study of an early version of the Galleri MCED test evaluated more than 6,500 people aged 50 years or older with no symptoms of cancer. People enrolled in the study received one of two possible results: cancer signal detected or no cancer signal detected. Those with a signal detected had a diagnostic evaluation to determine if cancer was present.
The study found that adding MCED testing more than doubled the number of cancers detected by recommended screenings. Approximately half of the new cancers found by the MCED test were stage 1 or stage 2. Cancers in these stages are generally smaller and haven’t spread to surrounding tissue, lymph nodes or other organs. Cancers detected in earlier stages may have more treatment options and a higher chance of successful outcomes.
Additionally, 71% of the people with cancers detected by the MCED test had cancer types without recommended screenings.
“We learned from this study that the addition of our MCED test to regular screenings can dramatically increase the numbers of cancers found among people who have an elevated risk,” said Dr. Josh Ofman, president at GRAIL, which makes the Galleri test. “This gives us an opportunity to find more cancers at earlier stages, when they can be more effectively treated and are potentially curable.”
Talk to Your Doctor
The Galleri test is intended for people with an elevated risk for cancer, including those aged 50 or older or with risk factors that increase the chance of cancer. Individuals concerned about increased risk of cancer are encouraged to talk with their doctor about the Galleri MCED test, which can be incorporated into an annual health check or routine blood work. If the screening detects the presence of a cancer signal, a healthcare provider will help determine next steps. The Galleri test is available by prescription only.
Alongside other ways you can work to stay healthy, take control of your health by speaking to your doctor about MCED tests.
To learn more, visit galleri.com.
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. A test 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.
GRAIL’s clinical laboratory is certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) and accredited by the College of American Pathologists. The Galleri test was developed, and its performance characteristics were determined by GRAIL. The Galleri test has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. GRAIL’s clinical laboratory is regulated under CLIA to perform high-complexity testing. The Galleri test is intended for clinical purposes.