The Syantra DX™ Breast Cancer blood test is a precision medicine tool that provides a molecular approach to detecting breast cancer at early stages, when it may be easier to treat.
If breast cancer wasn’t a worry for 36-year-old Tania Blanco three years ago, it certainly is now. Since 2019, three women in Blanco’s circle have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Blanco, a Program Manager for Alio Health Services Inc., a division of Calian Group Ltd, says this has heightened her concern about her risk of breast cancer, even as a young woman.
“Lately, it feels like I’m hearing about so many women my age with breast cancer… It scares me. Breast Cancer is a fear for a lot of women, I think,” says Blanco.
With good reason. Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer among Canadian women. Most breast cancers occur in women 50 and older, but it can occur at any age. In fact, 18 percent of breast cancer diagnoses occur in women under 50. Numbers like these explain why Blanco and many of her colleagues jumped at the opportunity to attend a Calian Clinic Day, to receive a new blood test for breast cancer detection.
Strong performance for challenging screening populations
Syantra DX™ Breast Cancer is a precision medicine test that provides a molecular approach to detecting breast cancer at early stages, when it may be easier to treat. It’s currently available across Canada with a physician’s requisition through Alio Health and other providers.
This test, which is supported by clinical data that includes women between 25 and 80, has an overall accuracy of 92 percent. For women under 50, the accuracy is up to 98.5 percent.
“The performance for the entire cohort is very strong,” explains Tina Rinker, PhD, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer for Syantra Inc. “We’re also excited that the clinical data shows such exceptional performance among women with very dense breast tissue and women under 50, since screening in this group is currently challenging.”
Roughly half of all women have dense or very dense breast tissue – a characteristic that’s more common among younger women. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, dense breast tissue looks white on a mammogram, and so do tumours, which can make breast cancer tumours more difficult to detect. Women with dense breast tissue also have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women with less tissue density.
Rinker is passionate about the need for new tools in this area. “What inspires me is improving outcomes for women. We can’t simply rest on the current standards of care that leave significant gaps. We need to address those gaps.”
In Canada, breast cancer screening programs target women age 50-75 and women at high risk for breast cancer. “Most younger women detect breast cancer on their own, which means their breast cancer is typically identified at later stages. As cancer progresses, it becomes more difficult to treat and more likely to recur,” says Rinker.
Seizing opportunities for better outcomes
The importance of early detection has been on Hope Senechal’s mind lately. Senechal, a Director of Compliance and Quality Assurance with Allphase Clinical Research Inc., part of the Calian Group, recently spoke with her physician about receiving annual mammograms.
Senechal, who is under 50, had been researching the role of screening in early detection. It’s why she was quick to sign up to receive the Syantra DX™ Breast Cancer blood test through the Calian Clinic Day.
“I chose to take this test to augment the mammography screening and hopefully have a better chance of detecting any early-stage cancers,” says Senechal. “Early detection is key to successful outcomes, and I want to take advantage of all available opportunities…”
Empowering women with cancer detection tools, starting with employees
Providing access to valuable healthcare treatments and tools is a key mission for Calian, which has a 40-year history of collaborating with organizations to solve healthcare challenges, explains Jeff Smith, President of Alio Health and Allphase.
In June 2022, Calian partnered with Syantra to offer the Syantra DX™ Breast Cancer test via Alio Health, leveraging the Calian digital health platform ‘Nexi’ and a national network of over 3,500 health care professionals.
“We partnered with Syantra to eliminate market barriers, to improve awareness and to bring this breakthrough innovation to women in more than 100 urban and remote communities across Canada,” says Smith.
This October, Calian employees are invited to take a Syantra DX™ Breast Cancer test as part of an employer-sponsored cancer awareness campaign. Kaytlin Sadler, Vice President of Alio Health, hopes other employers will consider following suit by organizing their own collection days and offering a Health Spending Account or other funding programs to help cover the cost of potential life-saving tests. Investing in employees sends the right message, explains Sadler. “Providing employees with the benefits of screening for cancer is a declaration that the company values its employees.”
Employers who are interested in offering an employer-sponsored collection day to their employees can contact Calian for further information at [email protected].
1 Breast Cancer Statistics 2019, CA Cancer J Clin 2019;69:438–451
2 See IDBC study on clinicaltrials.gov: Bundred, N. et al., A whole blood assay to identify breast cancer: interim analysis of the international identify breast cancer (IDBC) study
evidence supporting the Syantra DX Breast Cancer Test, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, 21-A-1625-SABCS, presented December 8, 2021, San Antonio, TX, USA.
3 Canadian Cancer Society. Breast Density. https://cancer.ca/en/treatments/tests-and-procedures/mammography/breast-density