Research set to revolutionise prostate cancer treatment
A pilot programme that uses high-definition magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans is reducing average prostate cancer diagnosis time to just eight days and referral-to-treatment time to 20 days.
The new process sees patients receiving an MRI scan and report, a clinical review and, if necessary, a targeted biopsy all on the same day. It is also more accurate, with studies suggesting that the new approach almost doubles the chance of finding important life-threatening prostate cancers.
Funded by the National Cancer Transformation Programme, the project is based on ground-breaking research into the benefits of using MRI scans before consultation with patients who have abnormal results from a PSA test- the blood test currently used by GPs to diagnose prostate problems.
The research shows up to a third of patients who receive an MRI scan which indicates nothing suspicious could be safely discharged back to their GP without undergoing an invasive biopsy. Patients whose MRI was reported as ‘suspicious’ have targeted biopsies on the same day, and within a week they see a specialist consultant to discuss the results.
Three NHS Trusts in west London are piloting this new model of care and they are working with Prostate Cancer UK and others to develop a set of standards for the new model.