All men should be screened for prostate cancer, at some point, but those who are most at risk for the condition might no longer need a biopsy and surgery under brand new guidelines from the National Institutes of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Approximately 100,000 men under biopsies every year because of prostate cancer concerns.
New research indicates that instead of probing needles, thousands of men could learn about their potential prostate cancer diagnosis through a simple MRI scan. As such, the researchers say that practitioners should offer MRI scans as the “first line investigation” for any and all patients suspected to have localized prostate cancer. As a matter of fact, research from last year—published in the medical journal Lancet—found that among those men who have cancer, this new technique detected 93 percent of the most aggressive cases, but traditional biopsy only managed to detect 48 percent of them!
The data on this research also suggests that this could allow for at least 25 percent of cases to get clearance without having to take any more (invasive) tests. More importantly, the data says this technique could even be twice as effective at finding the most deadly tumors and that means the earlier diagnosis, which leads to better treatment options, which leads to higher survival rates.
And with these new guidelines on testing for men who are at highest risk, the guidance also intimates that those men who may be considered at “low risk” should be provided clearer options about potential surgery, available radiotherapy methods, or to simply remain under “active surveillance”—a type of cancer monitoring also known as “watchful waiting.”
These lower-risk men should also be given more detailed information about not only the benefits of treatment but the associated risks as well, as some can cause incontinence and even erectile dysfunction.
In case you were not aware, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Approximately 47,000 prostate cancer cases are reported every year, with nearly 25 percent of these leading to death.