400+ People Mistakenly Told They Have Cancer

(BrightPress.org) – Over 400 people received a false notice for an early-warning cancer screening they had signed up for with Grail Inc.

The company runs an early-detection cancer screening protocol for fifty different types of cancer that can be detected by blood tests long before the appearance of physical symptoms, offering patients more treatment options and a higher likelihood of survival. The Galleri test is available by prescription and is one of the first of its kind offering routine screenings for people who are at risk.

Unfortunately, 408 people received mistaken notifications that they had positive test results, almost half of whom had yet to even have their blood drawn. Representatives for the company explained a software glitch in third-party telemedicine provider PNWHealth was to blame for the problem, not a positive test result or anything related to their testing technology. They were not clear as to why it took PNWHealth around 36 hours to contact patients who had mistakenly received messages telling them they likely had cancer, however.

The British National Institutes of Health was the first to do a large pilot program on the technology, screening over 140,000 patients in a pilot program in 2021. Mega gene sequencing company Illumina bought Grail shortly after for $7.1 billion, and the test is just starting to become available in the United States. The retail price for the test comes in at just under a thousand dollars, which is a lot of money to dish out to be misinformed.

The diagnostic testing market did just under $150 billion in sales in 2022, doubling well before 2030 if Precendence Research is right about their numbers. The company predicted that the market for diagnostic tests would hit $350 billion by 2030 if the current growth continues apace. Some factors may limit the growth of the market, like expensive pricing and appropriately skilled laboratory workers who can perform the tests.

Early detection is incredibly helpful in not only saving the life of the patient but reducing medical costs to them and their insurers in the long term. All around it’s a good investment, presuming you don’t get told you might have cancer when you don’t.

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