Cancer

Bloody Brilliant: The Next Chapter in Cancer Screening | by Michael Hunter, MD | BeingWell | Dec, 2023

An illustration of cancer cells. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a study to see if the Galleri blood test can reduce late-stage cancer diagnoses for cancers that don’t have traditional screening approaches.
Cancer cells. Adobe Stock Photos.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a study to see if the Galleri blood test can reduce late-stage cancer diagnoses for cancers that don’t have traditional screening approaches.

In the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, groundbreaking innovations often emerge to challenge the status quo.

I am a cancer doctor, and would love to see the disease caught earlier. Earlier detection typically translates into higher cure rates (with less intense treatment).

The recent approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an investigational device study of the Galleri test marks a significant milestone in cancer screening.

The Galleri blood test can potentially revolutionize how we detect cancer. The approach offers a non-invasive and comprehensive approach that could change the narrative of early diagnosis.

Today, I will review this potentially groundbreaking test for early cancer detection.

Did you know that only four cancer types have a screening test recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)?

Here are the four cancers for which we have screening:

  • Breast
  • Cervix
  • Colorectal
  • Lung
Image of red and green colored cancer cells. There are four cancers for which we have screening: Breast, cervix, colorectal, and lung.
Cancer cells. Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

These cancers comprise about three in 10 cancers in the United States. A fifth cancer — prostate — has a screening test that is not broadly recommended due to overdiagnosis.

The USPSTF explains that for men aged 55 to 69 years, the decision to undergo periodic prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening for prostate cancer should be an individual one.

Many cancer deaths are caused by cancers for which we do not have screening tests:


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