Your DNA is your personal blueprint, the map of you. If that blueprint is disrupted — if your cells become dysregulated — the result may be cancer.

Cancer is a progressive set of errors that occur in the DNA, gradually creating a harmful disorder within certain cells. A simple analogy: the brakes in your car. Maybe the brake pads get a little thin, then the brake line wears out, the brake fluid gets low… and, after enough mechanical disruption, the car crashes.

We want to identify, as soon as possible, when cells are going bad, and avert the “car crash” of cancer.

For decades, medical science has searched for a way to identify these rogue cells at an early stage — for a way to detect cancer early. The benefits of this are obvious: the faster cancerous cells are discovered, the greater the chance the patient will experience a successful treatment and thrive.

But until now, medical technology has been limited in its ability to detect the body’s warning signals of cancer. Diagnoses have been based mostly on specific testing that spots deformed cells, or on scans that reveal an abnormal growth. This means many cancers are not found until they’ve already reached an advanced stage.

Quote: GRAIL Test

How to Detect Cancer Early: GRAIL Galleri® for Early Multi-Cancer Detection

Enter GRAIL Galleri®, a revolutionary multi-cancer early detection test that’s able to detect cancer signals and predict where within the body a signal is coming from.

I’m excited about Galleri testing because it enables us to expose disrupted cells at the DNA level. And we can do it at an earlier stage, often before cancer takes hold.

In cancer detection, it’s critical that our technologies are sensitive and specific. By sensitive, I mean that if cancer is present, there’s a distinct chance of finding it. By specific, I mean that if cancer is not there, we can avoid false positives.

GRAIL Galleri technology is both sensitive and specific, which gives it a powerful edge over other methods of cancer detection. In clinical studies of over 20,000 patients, Galleri showed that it could detect a cancer signal across over 50 types of cancer, far outpacing current methods that screen only for a short list of very specific types.

Perhaps most exciting of all, this new prevention tool can diagnose some of the deadliest forms of cancer at an earlier stage. The more lethal the cancer — lung, esophageal, liver, pancreatic — the faster its cells replicate and shed bits of DNA into the blood. Once that DNA reaches the bloodstream, GRAIL Galleri testing can detect the cancer before physical symptoms appear.

The Galleri test’s sensitivity rate exceeds 75% in the cancers that cause the most U.S. cancer deaths. It’s also highly accurate at localizing the cancer signal, so treatment at the right spot can begin quickly.

And the test’s false positive rate? Only about 0.5% — incredibly accurate compared to a false positive rate as high as 40% for some cancer screening tests.

Infographic: The Grail Galleri Test: How to Catch Cancer Before It Catches You

How Does Galleri Testing Work?

As they multiply, grow, and die, all cells (whether cancer or non-cancer) shed DNA into the bloodstream. As such, GRAIL Galleri testing begins with a simple blood sample.

Your physician requests a Galleri test kit, draws a sample of your blood, and submits it to GRAIL for a liquid biopsy DNA analysis. Within about two weeks, your DNA results are returned to your health care professional.

If the Galleri test has detected a cancer signal, it’s about 90% accurate at pinpointing the organ system where the cancer is located. This prompts the need for more specific follow-up testing, or other diagnostic tests that your doctor may call for, to confirm the presence of cancer in that organ.

If results confirm a form of cancer, GRAIL’s oncology team supports Banner Peak Health to develop a quick, effective treatment plan for the affected area.

Who Should Try the Galleri Test?

The GRAIL Galleri test is recommended for adults with an elevated risk for cancer, which includes people ages 50 and above, as well as those with significant risk factors and/or a family history of cancer. Consult with your doctor to determine the right testing for you.

When it comes to GRAIL’s Galleri test, I’m excited to use a simple blood test that can help detect cancer. The greatest benefit? We can begin early treatment, before that cancer has a chance to grow and spread.

Want to learn more about GRAIL’s Galleri test? Start here.