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Mercy to offer new screening blood test to detect cancer



Little Rock, Arkansas – Mercy Health Systems is offering a new blood test by Menlo Park, Calif.-based GRAIL.

The Galleri test can detect early signs of more than 50 cancers, including aggressive ovarian, esophageal, and pancreatic cancer for which no other screening tests are readily available.

“Recommended cancer screenings in the U.S. currently cover only five types of cancer – breast, cervical, colon, lung, and prostate – and can screen just one at a time,” said Dr. Jay Carlson, clinical chair of Mercy Research, a gynecologic oncologist and head of Mercy’s cancer specialty council. “This innovative test has shown the ability to screen for hard-to-detect, aggressive and often deadly types of cancer like pancreatic, ovarian and esophageal, which oftentimes have no warning signs and are caught too late.”

According to Carlson, Mercy is early among health systems to offer this first-of-a-kind test to patients. The test is not covered by insurance and costs $949. GRAIL does offer some flexible payment options for the Galleri test. Mercy also said it will work with patients who qualify but are unable to pay the total cost.

The Multi-Cancer Early Detection (MCED) test, intended to complement U.S. guideline-recommended cancer screenings, looks for a shared signal present in the bloodstream that has been associated with many cancers. If a cancer signal is detected, the test can often pinpoint its origin in the body to help develop the next steps for treatment or additional diagnostic testing.

“Early detection can play a critical role in cancer treatment, allowing cancers to be caught when treatment is more likely to be successful,” said GRAIL CEO Bob Ragusa. “We believe new approaches, including multi-cancer early detection tests, are the new front in the war on cancer and one of our best chances to bend the cancer mortality curve. We’re excited to work with Mercy to offer the Galleri test to their patients.”

According to GRAIL, the MCED test is recommended for adults with an elevated risk for cancer, such as those aged 50 or older.

Galleri is available by prescription only, and use of the test is not recommended for those who are pregnant, 21 years or younger, or undergoing cancer treatment.

Anyone interested in the Galleri test can visit Mercy’s early detection site to fill out a form and, if eligible, be contacted by a Mercy care navigator to walk them through the ordering and testing process.