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Early cancer diagnosis is critical in ensuring positive patient outcomes. Those diagnosed with the disease early on often require less medical intervention and less intensive treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy and of course early diagnosis improves the chance of patient survival.
However, some forms of cancer can be particularly challenging to diagnose due to many of the symptoms also being commonly associated with less severe illnesses.
However, a blood test, named Galleri is due to be trialled by the NHS in order to help it identity more than 50 forms of cancer. If successful, the blood test could revolutionise cancer diagnosis and help to reduce the number of cancer diagnosis claims. This is particularly positive for cancers that are harder to identify due to patients only presenting with symptoms when they are at the later stages of the disease. This includes cancers such as ovarian and pancreatic cancer, whereby patient survival rates are a lot lower than hoped.
The blood test is to be initially trialled on 165,000 people across England from mid-2021. The individuals will be aged between 50-79 and will be randomly selected to join the trial. They will be invited to have a blood test once a year across a three-year period in order to check for the presence of malignant growths. 25,000 of those in the trial will have been chosen due to an initial symptom of cancer, such as a growth, and will be followed up with MRI and CT scans in order to ensure an early diagnosis where required.
The test, if successful may help to improve the number of patients who receive an early diagnosis of the disease, at stage one – whereby treatment is most likely to be successful, from 50% to 75%. This could also help to reduce the number of hospital resources required to treat cancer, minimise time spent in hospital for the patients and reduce the number of delayed diagnosis claims as a result.
The NHS have confirmed that should the blood test prove successful in the early diagnosis of cancer, then it will become routinely available across the NHS later this decade.
Whilst the trial is clearly in its initial stages, medical negligence solicitors, Blackwater Law welcome the potential for an early diagnosis of cancer and the hope that it may help increase the number of patients surviving the awful disease.