Mercy Hospital in OKC is offering a new blood test for cancer screening


The exterior of Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, pictured in this 2014 file photo.

Mercy hospitals are now offering a new blood test that can detect markers for over 50 types of cancer – including several that cannot otherwise be screened – to detect the disease in its early stages.

Nancy Dixon knew as soon as she heard about the test that she wanted to sign up.

Dixon, who works in media relations at Mercy and lives in Oklahoma City, lost her father to pancreatic cancer when she was 16. He was only 51 years old.

“I’m older than he was when he died,” she said. “So that’s always been in the back of my mind.”

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect early. It’s not one of the types of cancer that people are routinely screened for, and it’s typically diagnosed at stage IV, which can leave patients with few treatment options.

Nancy Dixon, a Mercy employee in Oklahoma City, has blood drawn for a new screening that can detect signals from more than 50 types of cancer.  Dixon, who lost her father to pancreatic cancer, was one of the first patients scheduled for the test.

The new blood test, called Galleri, is a multi-cancer screening test developed by healthcare company GRAIL. Although Galleri is not fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA gave it a Breakthrough Device designation in 2019, allowing GRAIL’s blood test to be offered to the public while more data is collected.

The test is intended to supplement regular cancer screening tests such as breast, colon, cervical, lung and prostate cancer – not replace it.

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