Holland provider offers early cancer detection test

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Dr. Laurie Birkholz. Courtesy Laurie Birkholz, MD & Associates

A Holland-based health care affiliate of a national medicine practice for women plans to offer a blood test for early cancer detection.

Laurie Birkholz, MD & Associates, a Ms. Medicine practice at 11971 James St. in Holland, will begin offering Galleri, a new cancer blood test, the week of Jan. 31.

According to Ms. Medicine, the practice is the first national network of women’s health care providers to adopt the new testing, and the Holland location is one of the first in West Michigan to offer the test.

The Galleri test is recommended for patients ages 50 and older, or anyone who has a family history of cancer. Services are available to all individuals, not just women, and the direct primary care practice currently is accepting new patients at its Holland location. The consult visit and blood draw will be available to members for $970, and $1,270 for nonmembers, according to the Ms. Medicine website.

“Early cancer detection is critical to beating cancer,” said Dr. Lisa Larkin, founder and CEO, Ms. Medicine. “The results from this test offer significant insight when paired with routine screenings into finding deadly cancers earlier and represents the future in catching and treating cancer more effectively.”

The Galleri test is a simple blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancers, 45 of which lack recommended screening today in the U.S., according to Ms. Medicine. The national women’s health network has partnered with national biotechnology and pharmaceutical company GRAIL to offer the testing at all affiliate locations nationwide, giving providers like Dr. Laurie Birkholz the opportunity to offer the technology.

“Finding cancer early, when treatment is more likely to be successful, is one of the most significant opportunities we have to reduce the burden of cancer,” said Dr. Joshua Ofman, president and chief medical officer, GRAIL.

According to Ms. Medicine, 1 in 5 people die of cancer because it often goes undetected and becomes diagnosed at an advanced stage when treatment options are limited. Early cancer detection is essential to improving survival, but screening currently is available only for a few types of cancer, the organization said. Today, 71% of cancer deaths are caused by aggressive cancers that are found in late stages, after the outcome becomes terminal.

With the Galleri test, Ms. Medicine can detect more than 50 different cancers before an individual develops symptoms, the organization said.

More information about Laurie Birkholz, MD & Associates and testing availability is online.

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