Galleri Cancer Test: The Benefits of Early Cancer Screening

71% of cancer deaths are caused by cancers not commonly screened for.

While there’s no cure for cancer, there have been vast improvements in early cancer detection. When you discover you have cancer early on, you usually have many more treatment options, and a substantially higher survival rate.

The Galleri Cancer Test screens for more than 50 types of cancer through a simple blood draw, and this test is now available at Boston Direct Health.

What is the Galleri Cancer Test?

The Galleri’s multi-cancer early detection test can detect abnormalities in your methylation patterns of cell-free DNA (cfDNA). Methylation is a biochemical process involved in multiple bodily functions and plays a key role in your overall well-being.

If your methylation patterns are off-balance, the presence of cancer could be why. Both cancer and non-cancer cells shed DNA into your bloodstream. Cancer can contribute to your abnormal methylation patterns, revealing those changes in your DNA. By checking these cfDNA patterns, you could detect cancer early.

If the Galleri cancer test detects a cancer signal, it then identifies the signal’s original point to help guide the next steps of your diagnosis.

How Does the Galleri Test Work?

The Galleri test will provide you with one of two results and what they mean:

  • Cancer signal not detected: The test doesn’t detect any cancer via the blood test, so continue routine cancer screening tests and annual Galleri tests.*
  • Cancer signal detected: The test has designed potential cancer, but diagnostic tests need to confirm this.

If the test detects potential cancer, you move on to diagnostic testing, which also has one of two results:

  • Unidentified cancer or false positive: Either you have a form of cancer that wasn’t identified by follow-up procedures, or the Galleri test resulted in a false positive. In either situation, you should ask your healthcare provider what they recommend.
  • Cancer confirmed: The Galleri test detected cancer. Refer to cancer care to begin active cancer treatment.

*The result “cancer signal not detected” doesn’t rule out the possibility of cancer. Unfortunately, blood tests cannot detect all types of cancer.

What Types of Cancer does Galleri Test for?

Galleri tests for over 50 kinds of cancer, including many of the most common ones, such as:

  • Breast
  • Cervical
  • Ovarian
  • Uteran
  • Vaginal
  • Bone
  • Colon and Rectum
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Kidney
  • Leukemia
  • Melanoma
  • Hodgkin and Non-
  • Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Pancreatic

Here’s the complete list.

Early Cancer Detection is Important!

We cannot stress the importance of routine cancer screening enough. Approximately one in three women and one in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

In 2020, Cancer.gov estimated there were more than 1.8 million, and that over 600,000 people would die from the disease.

Early detection is invaluable. According to the Canary Foundation:

  • There was a 70% decline in cervical-cancer incidence and deaths from 1950 – 2008 in countries that encourage regular Pap tests.
  • If you catch colon cancer early on, you have a 91% 5-year survival rate, compared to an 11% survival rate if you detect it after it’s spread to other organs.
  • If you are diagnosed with ovarian cancer early, when it’s still confined to your ovaries, you have a 90+% chance of surviving five years. After it spreads, your odds decrease to 28%.

When Should You Get Screened?

Here’s when you should be screened for specific types of cancer, based on your age:

Age

Recommended Cancer Screenings

21-29

  • Colon Cancer Testing - Only if you are higher than average risk due to family history, genetic disorders, or other factors.
  • Breast Cancer Testing - Only if you are higher than average risk or if your breasts look or feel abnormal.
  • Cervical Cancer Testing - Test every five years from 25-65.


30-39

  • Colon Cancer Testing - Only if you are higher than average risk due to family history, genetic disorders, or other factors.
  • Breast Cancer Testing - Only if you are higher than average risk or if your breasts look or feel abnormal.
  • Cervical Cancer Testing - Test every five years from 25-65.

40-49

  • Colon Cancer Testing - Start testing at age 45. Ask your physician what test is best for you, and how often you need it.
  • Breast Cancer Testing - Start annual screenings with mammograms, especially after age 45. 
  • Cervical Cancer Testing - Test every five years from 25-65
  • Prostate Cancer Testing - Talk to your doctor at age 45 about the risks, uncertainties, and potential benefits of testing.

50-64

  • Colon Cancer Testing - Start testing at age 45. Ask your physician what test is best for you, and how often you need it.
  • Breast Cancer Testing - Get annual screenings from 50-54. At age 55, you may be able to reduce these screenings to once every two years. 
  • Cervical Cancer Testing - Test every five years from 25-65
  • Prostate Cancer Testing - Talk to your doctor about the risks, uncertainties, and potential benefits of testing.
  • Lung Cancer Testing - If you’re 50 and currently smoke or quit within the last 15 years, talk to your doctor about testing.

65+

  • Colon Cancer Testing - Testing is recommended up through age 75. After, ask your physician if/when you need to continue testing.
  • Breast Cancer Testing - Get a mammogram every one or two years, based on your physician’s recommendation. 
  • Cervical Cancer Testing - If you’ve had regular testing in the last 10 years, there’s no longer a need to test for it. 
  • Prostate Cancer Testing - Talk to your doctor about the risks, uncertainties, and potential benefits of testing.
  • Lung Cancer Testing - If you currently smoke or quit within the last 15 years, talk to your doctor about testing.

How to Improve Your Chances

While we still recommend regular testing, here are a few ways to reduce your chances of ever experiencing a cancer diagnosis:

  • Get to and maintain a healthy weight, and balance calorie intake with exercise.
  • Exercise regularly–at least 2.5 – 5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity every week.
  • Avoid tobacco and tobacco products.
  • Eat healthy: all more fruits and vegetables to your diet, while avoiding sugary or high-processed foods.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption to just one drink a day for women, two for men.

Galleri Cancer Testing at Boston Direct Health

Have you had a cancer screening recently? If not, sign up for one today with one of our physicians. We’re here to provide you with outstanding care at every step of your wellness journey.

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