Viewpoint: Prostate cancer screening test ‘in sight’

“Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, with around 130 new cases diagnosed in the UK every day and more than 10,000 men a year dying from the disease.

“Unfortunately, the way we currently spot the disease is not very precise.

“Traditionally, we have used a blood test looking for raised levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and then carried out a biopsy which means taking some tissue from the prostate gland to examine under the microscope.

“But PSA levels are not a reliable indicator of prostate cancer – about 75% of men who get a positive result are not found to have cancer, while it misses the cancer in about 15% of men with prostate cancer.

Is imaging the answer?
The ReIMAGINE project, which Prof Emberton is part of, is being led by University College London and includes researchers at Imperial College, Kings College London and clinicians at UCLH.

Prof Emberton says: “By using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), we hope to change how prostate cancer is diagnosed and then treated.

“We know from international research that MRI can markedly and safely reduce the numbers of men needing an invasive biopsy.

“This research recently led to changes in official health guidelines, with MRI now recommended as the first test for men referred to hospital by their GP with suspected prostate cancer.

 

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