Stowmarket chosen for trial of potentially life-saving cancer test

Stowmarket residents are to be invited for a blood test outside the Tesco supermarket in the town

Stowmarket residents are to be invited for a blood test outside the Tesco supermarket in the town - Credit: Archant

People in Stowmarket are being invited to take part in a trial of a potentially life-saving blood test that could detect more than 50 types of cancer before symptoms appear.

In the coming weeks residents aged between 50 and 77 in the town will be sent a letter from the NHS inviting them to volunteer for the Galleri trial.

Participants, who must not have had a cancer diagnosis or treatment in the last three years, will have a blood sample taken at a mobile clinic outside the Tesco store, in Cedars Link Road, between January 17 and February 3 next year.

They will then be invited back after 12 months, and again at two years, to give further blood samples.

The test checks for the earliest signs of cancer in the blood by finding chemical changes in fragments of genetic code that leak from tumours into the bloodstream.

The NHS-Galleri trial, the first of its kind, is aiming to recruit 140,000 volunteers nationally — including thousands in Stowmarket — to see how well the test works in the NHS.

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

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After the mobile clinic collects samples in Stowmarket, it will then move on to other locations in the East of England.

Dr Pete Holloway, GP cancer lead for Suffolk and North East Essex ICS and East of England Cancer Alliances, said: "Most of us are now aware of the benefits of finding cancer earlier when it is easier to treat.

Dr Peter Holloway, cancer lead for Suffolk and North East Essex ICS

Dr Peter Holloway, cancer lead for Suffolk and North East Essex ICS - Credit: Warren Page/Pagepix

"By taking part in this trial, the people of Stowmarket will be at the forefront of developing a test that has the potential to save lives from cancer in England and around the world.

"Registering for the trial is easy – just look out for the letter which will show you how to book an appointment online or over the phone."

Sir Harpal Kumar, president of GRAIL Europe, said: "The Galleri test can not only detect a wide range of cancer types but can also predict where the cancer is in the body with a high degree of accuracy. The test is particularly strong at detecting deadly cancers and has a very low rate of false positives."