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Cancer 'super tests' screen for more than 50 cancers. But are they saving lives?

Someone has blood drawn. (Anastassiya Bezhekeneva/Getty Images)
Someone has blood drawn. (Anastassiya Bezhekeneva/Getty Images)

What if there were a screening test to check for cancers — more than 50 of them — with a single blood draw? There is, though an increasing number of voices say that despite their promise, the jury is still out on whether they’re effective at prolonging life.

The Galleri test, marketed by the biotech company Grail, looks for evidence of tumors and cancer cell in the blood before they can be seen in conventional screenings. And while Galleri is not yet FDA-approved, it’s available by prescription for about $1000.

Benjamin Mazer is a physician specializing in pathology and laboratory medicine who wrote an Atlantic piece called “Cancer Super-Tests are Here, But Are They Really Such a Good Idea?

He joins host Robin Young to discuss the pros and cons of the so-called cancer super-tests.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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