NHS to test advance warning cancer detection to a million people

It’s called the Galleri Test and it can detect 50 different types of cancer.

This is already significant because, to date, only 5 types of cancer have a recommended screening test. These are breast, colorectal, cervical, prostate and lung. Yet over 70% of new cancer cases and cancer-related deaths are due to lacking of screening.

The Galleri Test identifies fragments of tumour DNA in the bloodstream and can pinpoint exactly where the disease emanates. In an interview with The Times, NHS CEO Amanda Pritchard said “Our pioneering Galleri trial, now in its second year, is the first step in testing a new way to identify cancers before symptoms appear. If provisional results prove successful, we will be rolling out the test to an extra one million people across the country from next summer, with the aim of diagnosing thousands more people with cancer at an earlier stage.”

The ‘million people test’ is predicated on the success of smaller trials, occurring right now. But they’ve already shown enough promise for the NHS to green-light their plan for next summer.

In one particular trial in England and Wales, the Galleri Test detected signs of cancer in 323 of 6238 who visited their doctors with suspected symptoms. And 244 of these were subsequently diagnosed with cancer.

The news just gets better

Amanda Pritchard believes it has the potential to “transform cancer care forever”. Early detection increases the five-year-and-over survival rate by 400% over later detection. So it seems The Chief Executive of the NHS may be stating the (wonderfully) obvious.

At  a health conference held recently in Manchester, a researcher told delegates that the Galleri Test could soon be carried out at home.

The NHS has long been considered the model for the democratisation of healthcare. All the more reason why is fantastic news for those of us with a high risk of developing cancer.