Mercy unveiled a new blood test which it says is able to detect more than 50 types of cancer.
The test, called Galleri, was created by GRAIL, a healthcare company whose goal is to detect cancers early.
Galleri was created as a supplement to regular cancer screenings. The blood test works by detecting signals of cancer in DNA.
One of the first to sign up for the test was Nancy Dixon, a co-worker at Mercy right here in Oklahoma City. She said the opportunity couldn’t wait.
“It’s always been in the back of my mind, that this is a fear,” said Dixon referring to the question she’s struggled with for 39 years. Will her family history affect her future?
“By the time we knew what my dad had it was too late,” she recalled.
She described her father as a quiet, hard-working anesthesiologist. He passed away at the age of 51.
“My dad had pancreatic cancer. He died when I was 16,” said Dixon. “Pancreatic cancer can be something in my future. It can be passed down.”
When she learned about the blood test, she jumped at the chance to sign up. She answered a couple of questions to determine if she qualified for the test. She then paid, gave blood and now awaits the results.
According to Mercy, the test was able to detect more than 50 types of cancer in clinical trials. Doctors say 45 of those cancers have no available screening procedures today.
“Right now, in medicine we are very reactive,” explained Mercy’s President of Communities, Dr. John Mohart. “We wait for somebody to come in early with symptoms or swelling and then we find out they have cancer. This way, we can be more proactive and personalized.”
Dixon now thinks of her daughter who never got to meet her grandfather.
“She would love to know him,” she said shuffling through old pictures. “It’s been a big hole in her life and somewhat in mine as well.”
Dixon believes if her dad had a similar test, he may be here today. She hopes her daughter won’t have to face the same situation.
“She needs me around for a bit,” she said. “This is something that even if this comes back positive, which I hope it does not, at least we can do something instead of it being final days.”
The results are typically returned around 2 weeks, but the test is pricey.
Galleri is not currently covered by insurance and the out-of-pocket cost is more than $900.
Mercy says it will work with those who qualify but cannot cover the entire cost.
To learn more, or see if you qualify, follow this link.