Within the upcoming year, there will be 600,000 deaths from cancer in the United States. Of these, over 70% of cancer deaths happen due to cancers that are difficult to screen for. While there are factors outside of our control that contribute to cancer risk, there are many steps we can take toward prevention, including early detection and cancer screening. Tune into this week’s Fox 17 where Dr. Bitner discusses early detection cancer screening options, including the Galleri® test.
Women can only screen for three cancers: cervical cancer with a pap smear, breast cancer with a mammogram, and colon cancer with a colonoscopy. Men can also screen for prostate cancer. For some individuals, lung cancer screenings are available.
Early detection does not prevent the need for treatment, but it can make the treatment less expensive, less invasive, and it is more likely to be effective. Early detection gives patients treatment choices versus more limited, late-stage cancer options.
The Galleri test requires blood to be drawn and sent to a central lab. It is then analyzed to determine if cell-free DNA is present, which could signal the presence of cancer. Once one of the signals is found, the test determines which region of the body the signal came from. The test is more sensitive for some cancers than others. For example, it is not as sensitive for breast cancer and prostate cancer because these cancers stay covered up longer. However, the test is able to detect pancreatic cancer early, because signs show in the blood long before symptoms begin to show.
Dr. Bitner decided to take the Galleri test for herself this year. She was adopted, which meant she did not know a lot about her family’s health history. With an upcoming wedding and vacations with her children, Dr. Bitner wanted to ensure she was healthy and could participate in every life event. She scheduled a time to get her blood drawn and recently received her results. Dr. Bitner’s tests came back negative (not likely to have hard-to-detect cancers), and she plans to continue regular screenings in the future. This knowledge helped her to feel more comfortable and empowered to continue healthy lifestyle habits.
Health Tip of the Week:
We know that the big “C” word is scary. Cancer testing is intimidating, and it might seem better to “just not know.” Early cancer detection, however, gives you options. It lets you make the best decisions for your body and helps you regain control over your health journey. Remember, knowledge is power. If you have any questions about testing, contact our team today!
Watch the full segment.