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New Targeted Biopsy: Prostate Cancer Diagnosis Easier, Less Painful

By Lynette Summerill HERWriter
 
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For doctors, finding prostate cancer during a biopsy is akin to finding a needle in a haystack while blindfolded.

Leonard Marks, MD, University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) professor of urology and director of the UCLA Active Surveillance Program says “amazingly, prostate cancer is being diagnosed today almost exactly same way it was 25 years ago” using a technique known as the “blind biopsy”.

Prostate cancer is the only major malignancy diagnosed without actually visualizing the tumor during a biopsy. That’s because doctors can’t actually see the tumor during the procedure. They work blind as ultrasound guides the needle to different parts of the prostate to gather tissue samples.

Dr. Marks said that, as a result, 75 percent of the nearly one million biopsies for prostate cancer performed each year are negative for cancer. However, many men with negative biopsies but elevated serum PSA levels may still harbor malignant tumors that were missed by conventional biopsies.

But now, a UCLA team of physicians and engineers have demonstrated in a groundbreaking study that prostate cancer can be more accurately diagnosed using a cool new tool called Artemis, which makes image-guided targeted biopsy possible.

The researchers used Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) along with real time ultrasound to solve an age-old problem: how to give doctors a way to see what they are aiming for.

The new technology not only allows doctors to visually inspect a prostate for cancer during the biopsy, they can now do it 3-D high-resolution images in a much more refined manner.

This means more men with serious prostate cancers may be diagnosed earlier. And for those who have less serious cancers, they can avoid unnecessary procedures — along with the accompanying risks and side effects.

Robert Meier, a 58-year-old high school art teacher from Visalia, Calif. was one of 171 men who enrolled in Dr. Mark’s study in 2011, after three prior prostate biopsies all came back negative for cancer despite his climbing PSA levels.

An MRI revealed a prostate lesion and he underwent a biopsy using the Artemis device. He did have cancer, and it was aggressive.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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