Prostate Cancer Testing Making HUGE Strides

Prostate cancerProstate cancer diagnosis has just escalated into new found territory thanks to scanning equipment.

Doctors and Campaigners are stating how advanced MRI helps catch twice as many aggressive prostate cancer tumors including a specific trial on 576 males, showing that over 25% can be saved from undergoing biopsies. These incursive biopsies can lead to having a whole slew of side-effects. Many are reviewing and trying to attempt at applying these scans to other forms of cancer.

In British Men, Prostate cancer is the highest and most common form of cancer yet there is hardly sufficient forms of testing for it. The usual step is to do biopsies for males with high prostate specific antigen levels in their blood. The procedure involves twelve needles that takes samples from the entire prostate.  Side effects from the biopsy include bleeding, erectile dysfunction, and also serious infections. All this and the biopsy can still miss a cancer tumor that may be there or it can also miss whether a spot is aggressive or not. In the UK, about 120,000 yearly men still go through with biopsies. Apparently, a random biopsy isn’t widely accepted for testing breast cancer but, for some reason, it is an accepted form of testing for prostate cancer.

In the UK, there was a trial done at eleven different hospitals that used multi-paramentric MRI on males with high prostate specific antigen levels. The trial helped show that about 27% of males did not require a biopsy as well as showing that 93% of aggressive cancers were found by guiding the biopsy with the MRI scans as opposed to the 48% with a random biopsy. This is a huge leap in the diagnosing prostate cancer.

One patient noticed signs of an enlarged prostate when he kept needing to use the bathroom over and over. In May 2016, he had to go to the doctor again due to always feeling fatigued. It was assumed that the culprit was prostate cancer and so he was offered the option to have an MRI done. Unfortunately he still needed a biopsy . The patient was, indeed, diagnosed with cancer that had no spread beyond the tumor. Now comes the next step on what to do, which is how to go about treating it.

There are still clinical trials needed before deciding whether it is cost efficient enough to use Multi-parametric MRI scans along with Biopsies. Chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, Angela Culhane, mentions how current methods of testing are “notoriously imperfect”. She also said “This is the biggest leap forward in prostate cancer diagnosis in decades.” A professor from the Institute of Cancer Research in London, Ros Eeles, says the study was “Very important” and “Provides ground breaking data”. Dr Philip Haslam, Chairman of the British Society of Urogenital Radiology, states that “Today’s findings represent a huge leap forward in prostate cancer diagnosis.” He also mentions that the next hurdle could be a lack of equipment as well as those qualified to use it and understand the results.