A groundbreaking blood test set to be trialled by the NHS this autumn can accurately detect two-thirds of life-threatening cancers.
The Galleri test, described as the holy grail for cancer, detects the disease early in healthy people and NHS officials believe it has the potential to save thousands of lives every year.
Even before someone finds a lump, develops symptoms or visits their GP, early-stage cancerous cells can shed DNA into the bloodstream, which the blood test picks up.
Now results from 4,077 patients in the US show it can detect 67.6 per cent of 12 deadly cancers, including bowel, ovarian, lung and pancreatic.
Overall, it can pick up more than 50 kinds of cancer. The results come as the NHS prepares to roll out the test to 140,000 people aged 50 to 77 with no cancer symptoms. Another 6,000 with suspected symptoms will be offered tests to speed up their diagnosis.
Each test, together with laboratory analysis which provides a result in about ten working days, costs $949, or about £620, in the US.
It’s not know how much the NHS has paid for its pilot, and the results are expected in 2023, and if successful, the test will be made available to about a million people in 2024 and 2025.
The latest results, published in the journal Annals of Oncology, come from trials on 2,823 people with cancer and 1,254 who were cancer-free.
The test incorrectly diagnosed people less than 1 per cent of the time, for just six people. For pancreatic cancer, one of the biggest killers because it’s normally caught late, the test identified the disease 86.6 per cent of the time.
For more than 50 cancers, it detected them with about 41 per cent accuracy at stage one and three. There are four stages of cancer, with stage four the most advanced, at which most cancers are terminal.
But the test performed better for 12 cancers whose tumours tend to release larger quantities of abnormal DNA into the blood and which tend to have lower survival rates, including bladder, bowel, stomach, liver, lung, gullet and pancreatic.
The accuracy for this group was 67.6 per cent at stages one to three, with the test better at detecting cancers at a later stage.
In England, 56 per cent of cancers are diagnosed at stage one or two, but the NHS intends to extend that to three quarters by 2028. The results are broadly in line with ones published last year when the test was trialled in more than 1,200 people.
This is a great breakthrough, where more accurate results will increase in time, and I believe that most people would sooner have the opportunity to do everything possible to prevent cancer after the test or at least make the very most of the remaining time that they had left.
But the thing is this test won’t be used for years because the waiting lists will be too long, and of course, it’s all wonderful news, but ultimately it will be futile given that in the prevailing climate, cancer suffers have been sacrificed at the altar of COVID 19, which is utter madness.
Realistically, they’re trying to get rid of us, not protect us, and this is evident from 18 months of practically no healthcare, and it might be excellent news but with cancer waiting lists already long and palliative care provision woefully inadequate, how will the NHS be able to administer care to all these people, when they’re still too busy running the National COVID Health Service.
The NHS can’t cope with cancer patients as it is now, never mind having more, and Oncology outpatients waiting lists are endless, and surgical waiting lists for cancer operations are the same.
Palliative care services are understaffed and woefully inadequate, with countless more patients being diagnosed, and the NHS couldn’t possibly cope without more staff or resources.