The potentially lifesaving Galleri™ test checks for the earliest signs of cancer in the blood and is being rolled out across the West Midlands. It can detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear.
The region is among eight regions to be selected for the initiative and thousands of residents, aged 50 to 77, will be invited to have blood samples taken at mobile testing clinics on the doorstep.
NHS West Midlands Cancer Alliance boss Belinda Dooley, said: “This simple blood test could play a major part in the revolution in cancer detection and treatment. By finding cancer at an early stage, before signs and symptoms even appear, we can give people the best chance of survival as the cancer is easier to treat.
“Volunteers from across the West Midlands will be helping the NHS be at the forefront of evaluating and introducing new technologies that could improve the health of millions. So, if you are invited, please take part, as you could be helping to transform cancer care and protect yourself.”
The test is a simple blood test which researchers have found to be particularly effective in finding cancers that are difficult to identify early including in the head and neck, bowel, lung, pancreas and throat. It works by finding chemical changes in fragments of genetic code which leak from tumours into the bloodstream.
Participants, who must not have had a cancer diagnosis in the last three years, will be asked to give a blood sample at mobile clinic and will then be invited back after 12 months and again after two years to give further samples.
The first mobile clinic will be at Walsall’s Sainsbury’s car park, in Reedswood Way, Reedswood, for a month from October 29.
Initial results of the study are expected by 2023 and, if successful, NHS England and NHS Improvement plans to extend the roll-out to a further one million people in 2024 and 2025.
The trial is the latest initiative launched by the NHS to meet its Long Term Plan commitment of finding three quarters of cancers at an early stage by 2028.
Patients whose condition is diagnosed at ‘stage one’ typically have between five and 10 times the chance of surviving compared with those found at ‘stage four’.
Now the NHS is aiming to recruit 140,000 volunteers across the country to see how well the test works.