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Posted on 27th January 2017

Thousands of lives could be saved by using MRI scans instead of biopsies for prostate cancer

A study by University College London suggests that MRI scans are twice as likely to spot prostate cancer than the usual biopsy.

Prostate cancer affects up to 100,000 men every year, and the study has promoted the NHS to carry out an urgent review into the guidelines.

The current procedure is an invasive biopsy which carries the risk of impotency. However, the experts say that up to 27,000 of the 100,000 diagnosed with prostate cancer, could avoid it if they had an MRI scan first.

Researchers found that the most common type of biopsy correctly diagnoses 48 per cent of aggressive cancers, whilst the MRI scan identified 93 per cent of them. MRI scans missed one in ten harmful cancers, biopsies missed one in four.

The research was carried out on 576 men across 11 NHS hospitals.

One of the authors of the research, Dr Hashim Ahmed, of UCL, told The Sun: “Having an MRI scan, followed by a biopsy if the scan is positive, can dramatically improve the diagnosis of prostate cancer.”

Whilst Prostate Cancer UK hailed the new findings as the “biggest leap forward in diagnosis in decade”, they warned that the shortage of scanners and trained staff may mean as many as two out of three men won’t be able to benefit.

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