In my last post I mentioned a Radio 4 programme which discussed the grey areas in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. It also argued for MRI scans before prostate biopsies so that they could be targeted better. Since then a major breakthrough has been published in The Lancet and reported in the press – the BBC called it a ‘Huge leap‘. (The Lancet report is a bit technical for me, but I could understand the BBC report. I had an MRI before my biopsy.)
It appears that an MRI scan is twice as likely to identify the presence of dangerous tumours as an invasive biopsy and that it identifies 93% of aggressive cancers, compared to 48% identified by a biopsy. It also means that the need for biopsies for men with suspected prostate cancer could be reduced by a quarter (no need to say “Ow”).
This is the second breakthrough in recent months – trials have shown that a drug activated by laser light successfully destroys early prostate cancer while avoiding side-effects that commonly occur with surgery.