Cancer Screening in a big way with the Galleri Test!
What is cancer screening?
Cancer is a disease that is progressive and the prognosis for most cancer diagnoses often worsens as time goes on. It is common knowledge that cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. According to the National Cancer Institute by 2040, the number of new cancer cases per year is expected to rise to 29.5 million and the number of cancer-related deaths to 16.4 million. As a result, cancer screening has become an important component of primary care. Everyone knows someone who has had a colonoscopy for colon cancer screening, a PAP smear for cervical cancer screening, or a mammogram for breast cancer screening. These screening tests help diagnose the most common cancers in higher-risk populations earlier than they typically become diagnosed. Currently, cancer screening protocols target some of the most common cancers nationally amongst our general population. The only issue with this is that many other cancers that are not as common will not be picked up by the currently recommended screening tests.
What is the Galleri Test?
Galleri is a new option for patients that want a more robust cancer screening test that is as easy as a simple blood draw. It is important to note that this test is designed to be an adjunct to current cancer screening recommendations and is not meant to replace current screening tests. The relationship between increased cancer screening and cancer mortality is still controversial and the concern for overdiagnosis is unquestionably legitimate. However, there is certainly truth to the idea that the prognosis for some cancers that we do not currently screen for is generally better when they are diagnosed at an early stage. The Galleri test can screen for more than 50 different types of cancers. Certain types of cancer like pancreatic cancer often get detected at a later stage and, as a result, have a higher mortality. Galleri would allow patients to be screened for some of these more indolent types of cancer that are difficult to detect with current screening recommendations. A negative test result does not necessarily rule out cancer. That being said, a positive test result allows the patient to know about the potential type of cancer earlier. The idea is that this will lead to an earlier diagnosis, imaging, workup, and treatment of the patient's specific type of cancer.
As our treatment of cancer continues to evolve, it is clear that cancer screening is continuing to play a big part in how we manage the disease. Early diagnosis and treatment continue to be emphasized in how we treat many cancers. We at Ospina Medical are interested to see how the management of cancer continues to change but believe the Galleri test can be an exciting option for early cancer screening in many patients.
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Author: Ospina Medical Team