New cancer detection technology available for Phoenix first responders

Oct 13, 2021, 4:45 AM
(KTAR News photo/Ali Vetnar)...
(KTAR News photo/Ali Vetnar)
(KTAR News photo/Ali Vetnar)

PHOENIX – A groundbreaking blood test is now available to help Phoenix first responders detect cancer.

Key players from the city of Phoenix, alongside the doctors at Vincere Cancer Center in Scottsdale, made the announcement Tuesday morning.

The test, called Galleri, is a simple blood draw that can detect a single cancer signal and where cancer originates.

The goal of the test is to detect occupational cancer early, as it’s currently the leading cause of death among firefighters.

Vershalee Shukla, Vincere Cancer Center’s doctor, has led the effort of catching cancer early with Valley firefighters since 2018.

Her office offers free cancer screenings for Phoenix first responders. She believes they have another tool in their tool belt with the new blood test.

“The beauty of this test is it’s 99.5% specificity, so it means the false positivity rate is 0.05%,” Dr. Shukla told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Tuesday. “So if it says you have a cancer signal – you have a cancer signal.”

The new technology can also detect where the cancer is coming from in the body roughly 90% of the time.

Dr. Shukla believes that feature is a game-changer for young first responders who are exposed to carcinogens in their high-risk jobs. As a result, many contract cancer where it’s tough to find.

First responders with this new test have the opportunity to find nearly 50 cancers – many of which have no current test.

“It’s so important because of the 12 of the deadliest cancers which are responsible for two-thirds of all cancer deaths have no screening modality,” Shukla said.

Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner at the press conference on Tuesday spoke about her own experience with occupational cancer and encouraged others to get screened for the disease.

Kalkbrenner has advocated for better cancer prevention and protection for firefighters throughout her time as fire chief.

The city of Phoenix has led the effort in considering cancer deaths as a line-of-duty death following firefighters Brian Beck and Rick Telles succumbing to the disease in 2019.

Vincere Cancer Center since 2018 has screened over 900 first responders in Phoenix, 75 of which were diagnosed with early stages of cancer that were treatable.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Photos via Buckeye Police Department)...

Buckeye Police boost reward to $12,000 for tips in fatal hit-and-run of 16-year-old girl

Authorities have upped the reward for tips in the fatal hit-and-run of a 16-year-old girl more than two years ago in Buckeye.
12 hours ago
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)...

Mesa police fatally shoot man who allegedly drove into patrol vehicle

Police shot and killed a man who allegedly drove into a patrol vehicle outside a Mesa convenience store early Wednesday.
12 hours ago
President Joe Biden speaks about manufacturing jobs and the economy at SK Siltron CSS, a computer c...

President Joe Biden schedules visit to Phoenix for next week

President Joe Biden will visit a Phoenix microchip plant next week to tout his economic plan, the White House announced Wednesday.
12 hours ago
(Twitter File Photo/@PhoenixPolice)...

Phoenix police fatally shoot robbery suspect after car chase

Police in Phoenix said they fatally shot an armed robbery suspect after a car chase late Tuesday night.
12 hours ago
(AP Photo/Matt York, File)...
SuElen Rivera

Former Arizona AG says not certifying an election is a criminal violation

Former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard on Tuesday said there are criminal consequences for those who neglect to certify an election.
12 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Mici Italian)...

Mici Italian restaurant to open second Valley location in Queen Creek

Colorado-based restaurant Mici Italian is preparing to open its second Valley location in Queen Creek sometime during the winter. 
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Quantum Fiber

Stream 4K and more with powerful, high-speed fiber internet

Picking which streaming services to subscribe to are difficult choices, and there is no room for internet that cannot handle increased demands.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
New cancer detection technology available for Phoenix first responders