Kentucky hospital offers new blood test that screens for 50 different types of cancer

St. Elizabeth Edgewood
Posted at 5:30 PM, Sep 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 17:37:16-04

EDGEWOOD, Ky. (WCPO) — A new blood test can screen patients for 50 different types of cancer, St. Elizabeth Healthcare announced Tuesday.

Galleri is a test that detects DNA from cancer cells in the bloodstream. The hospital said it can identify a tumor that might require medical attention and pinpoint cancers that are usually difficult to detect.

"This test is very good at picking up cancers where we don’t currently have good screening options, such as ovarian or pancreatic cancer," said Jaime Grund, director of St. Elizabeth Precision Medicine and Breast Centers. "Those cancers are difficult to detect at early stages. This new test allows us to screen for those diseases in a way that we haven’t been able to before."

At this time, screenings are only available for breast, cervical, colon, lung and prostate cancer. St. Elizabeth said 70% of cancer deaths come from cancers that do not have effective screenings.

The blood test is available for St. Elizabeth patients over age 50 who are believed to be cancer free but could be at risk. Patients who have previously been diagnosed must be in remission for at least three years before getting tested.

Once blood is drawn, results are available within two weeks. The test will identify positive screening for specific parts of the body. St. Elizabeth said patients are immediately enrolled in their cancer prevention clinic, where they can schedule an appointment with an oncologist.

St. Elizabeth said it has completed the test on "a handful of patients." Only 1-2% of people will likely receive positive results based on cancer incidence rates.

"It’s far more likely that if you take this test, we’re going to give you reassurance instead of concern," Grund said. "Still, with this test, we have a net in place to identify those who do have cancer. It’s an opportunity to help them through diagnosis and treatment."

The test is not covered by insurance and costs $949 out of pocket. Patients should contact a licensed genetic counselor at 859-301-GENE to learn more.