For many, it brings more than peace of mind – it’s a matter of life and death.
“This is to make sure I’m around as long as I can be,” said Nancy Dixon, an employee at Mercy.
Dixon works with the team of life-savers at Mercy, but she’s taking steps to save her own – undergoing the GRAIL Galleri test, which screens for 50 types of cancer.
“One of the cancers was pancreatic cancer and that’s what my dad had,” Dixon said. “My dad died when I was 16 years old so it’s always been kind of a fear in the background.”
Galleri is able to detect these cancers before signs or symptoms appear.
“The test actually does allow us to almost detect 50 cancers that no at this point don’t have a screening test available,” said Dr. Jesse Campbell with Mercy. “These are a cancer like pancreatic cancer that unfortunately we only find once it’s attacked.”
The Galleri test is currently recommended for patients ages 50 to 79 or those with other risk factors.
“For example, if you have a strong family history of breast cancer or maybe another preexisting cancer in your family, like pancreatic cancer, it’s also recommended for smokers if you have more than 20 years’ worth of smoking,” Campbell said.
The test, however, is not cheap.
It costs $949 and is not covered by insurance – yet – as it is early on in the FDA approval process.
“However, we’re able to through Mercy, if someone qualifies for this through a cancer history or one of the risk factors that we might find for them, and they also qualify for one of our charity programs,” said Campbell. “We actually can cover the cost of the test for them.”
Dixon will get her results – and hopefully peace of mind – next week.
“Doing anything I can so I stick around for a while,” she said.
To see if you qualify, or to schedule the test, head to Mercy’s website.