Thousands of West Midlands residents volunteer for cancer blood test trial

THOUSANDS of residents from across the West Midlands have volunteered to take part in a NHS blood test cancer trial.

Around 18,500 people from across the region have rolled up their sleeves to take part in the world’s largest trial to detect more than 50 types of cancer, as part of the latest NHS drive to catch the disease early, when it is generally easiest to treat.

In just one year since the NHS-Galleri trial began, volunteers from across the country have come forward to have a blood test at mobile clinics in convenient locations, including supermarket and leisure centre car parks and places of worship.

Participants will now be invited to attend two further appointments, spaced roughly 12 months apart.

The NHS Long Term Plan committed to increasing the proportion of cancers caught early, when they are easier to treat, from half to three in four.

This trial is part of radical NHS action to tackle cancer, that also includes the successful rollout of targeted lung trucks across the country, with thousands of people invited for checks every month in mobile vehicles, and hundreds of cancers diagnosed earlier.

The NHS say initial research has shown that this blood test could help to detect cancers that are typically difficult to identify early, even before symptoms appear – such as head and neck, bowel, lung and pancreatic cancers.

Dr Nigel Sturrock, Regional Medical Director at NHS England – Midlands, said: “Detecting cancer early is key to improving cancer outcomes in the West Midlands which is why we’re tremendously supportive of the NHS-Galleri trial, making it as easy as possible for those most at risk to get vital, lifesaving tests.

“We know that certain cancers are harder to detect and a late diagnosis can be devastating for patients and their families, and this trial means thousands could benefit from a diagnosis even before symptoms appear.”

While it is too early to report on the results of the trial, a number of participants have been referred for urgent NHS cancer investigations following the detection of a cancer signal.

Those joining the trial were aged of 50 to 77 years old and did not have signs of cancer at the time of enrolment.

Mobile clinics will return to towns and cities from September this year and will follow up with volunteers approximately one year after their initial appointment.

If successful, the NHS in England plans to roll out the test to a further one million people across 2024 and 2025.

The NHS-Galleri trial is being run by The Cancer Research UK and King’s College London Cancer Prevention Trials Unit in partnership with the NHS and healthcare company, GRAIL, which has developed the Galleri test.

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