New study could show better ways to detect prostate cancer

Published: Jun. 13, 2019 at 1:44 PM EDT
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For years researchers have been trying to develop better methods for detecting prostate cancer. Now, a promising new study shows that effort may be paying off.

One million men have biopsies every year in the U.S. to find prostate cancer. Now a study in JAMA Surgery shows using MRI guided biopsy with traditional ultrasound picks up more cancers.

"When you combine targeted and systematic biopsies together, the cancer detection rate is about 30 percent greater than it is when you don't," said Dr. Leonard Marks with UCLA Health.

Marks and other researchers looked at 300 men over a three year study. He says the MRI guided biopsy has transformed the way doctors treat prostate cancer because it shows exactly where the lesions are in the prostate. "It makes biopsy much more accurate than it's ever been before, and it opens the door for focal therapy of prostate cancer. Sort of a way to treat the tumor and leave the organ intact with entailing the side effects of surgery or radiation therapy." Marks said.

Lance Anderson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017. "It makes you go home and start planning, and reviewing your insurance policies. And trying to imagine a life where your children and your wife may have to plan without you," Anderson said.

The 68-year-old is having a follow up procedure to make sure he remains cancer free. His advice to other men: "Get in there and get your PSA done fellas, truly," he said.

Doctors say their findings could change how prostate biopsies are performed in the future.

The American Cancer Society reports other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the U.S.

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