I Took A Galleri Early Cancer Detection Test

We’ve reviewed a handful of over the counter screening tests here before and struggled with getting a prescription for some cancer screenings because of age limitations (45). Recently during open enrollment our benefits coverage noted that early detection cancer screenings were included.

Spoiler alert, the results were all good for me, but that’s not what this article is about. Instead it is about the process of getting access to the Galleri test and understanding what it can test for. There is a split thinking on getting extra screening tests, in part because of false positives and the chance for unneeded interventions that carry complications.

The upside of course of taking at test, is that if it does reveal something there are real interventions that can be now.

How to Get Approved For A Galleri Test

The benefit the company offered was through Galleri. After filling out a quick survey, a doctor reviewed the questions and approved the test. Even without being 45 the test still got approved.

Compared to the Everlywell test, which was impossible to take being under 45, and LetsGetChecked which completed the test but is not as accurate, that was a great development. Sadly the answer to the question, can I get screened for colon cancer before 45, seems to be only if you jump through hoops and have answer yes to have a genetic predisposition?

So what are those hoops and how do you have to answer questions to get approved for Galleri. Well, unfortunately you have to have a real correlation to increased chances of one of the types of cancer that the test screens for. This can be self reported, and we did this by sharing the results of a 23andMe style DNA analysis that was done through Forward (the subscription doctor service we’ve reviewed before).

After getting approved the rest of the test was easy to conduct.

Galleri test kit box for grail test

The kit came in a box that shipped like any normal Amazon package. But unlike tests like Everywell, the Galleri test can not be taken at home. Instead it must be administered by a professional, this is one of the things that allows them to be fully diagnostic.

Once I had the kit I was able to schedule an appointment for a blood draw at a local lab. Quest labs is easy to schedule online, so within a week it was possible to get a blood draw.

The draw itself had to cost to it. The kit itself must be brought to the test and opened by the tech to ensure there is no mishandling of the vials.

Grail cancer screening test kit

The lab sent off the results after labeling them according to the directions.  The next day an email arrived saying that the samples had made it to the  Grail lab which would run the test. Then it was just time to wait

Email saying grail labs received samples

About a week and a half later there was an email sent out with a link to results. In order to get the results you do need a consultation with a Doctor, although others have said different things. We were able to setup a virtual appointment via the email sent and the Doctor confirmed what the linked results said that, at least for the about 50 different types of cancer that Galleri tests for.

It should be noted that these tests and numbers are designed mostly for people 50+ (see the study from American Family Physician) so there are a few types of cancer that the test will not screen for in those under 50, in part it seems because there is no research to suggest that the results are accurate. Still for many others, including for the real one we wanted to rule out (Colon) the results are considered reliable.