Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men and the fourth most common type of cancer in the world. When prostate cancer is detected early, when it is still confined to the prostate gland, it has the best chance of being successfully treated. However, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, which are currently used to detect prostate cancer, are both costly and time-consuming. Furthermore, high-quality MRI scans are difficult to obtain in low- and middle-income countries. A new study suggests that an ultrasound scan can be used to detect clinically significant cases of prostate cancer, which could be a solution to this problem.
According to a study published in the journal Lancet Oncology, a new type of ultrasound scan can accurately diagnose the majority of prostate cancer cases. In a 370-man clinical trial, ultrasound scans missed only 4.3% more clinically important prostate cancer cases (cancer that should be treated rather than monitored) than MRI scans.
Prostate cancer can be detected using multiparametric ultrasound (USS).
A group of Imperial College London, University College London, and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust researchers investigated the effectiveness of multiparametric ultrasound (mpUSS) in detecting prostate cancer cases. USS examines the prostate and creates images of the organ using soundwaves. It entails inserting a probe known as a transducer into the rectum.
USS detected 66 cases of clinically significant cancer versus 77 cases detected by mpMRI.
Based on the findings of the study, the researchers proposed that mpUSS can be used as an alternative to mpMRI as the first test for patients at risk of prostate cancer, especially in cases where mpMRI cannot be performed. They added that using both tests together would increase the detection of clinically significant prostate cancers compared to using either test alone.
Cases of prostate cancer are expected to rise.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in the United Kingdom, with approximately 52,300 new cases diagnosed each year.
According to lead author Professor Hashim Ahmed, Chair of Urology at Imperial College London, one in every six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, and this figure is expected to rise.
This is the first study to demonstrate that an ultrasound scan can be used to detect clinically significant cases of prostate cancer. Although MRI scans are slightly more accurate, Professor Ahmed claims that this type of ultrasound scan can detect most cases of prostate cancer with high accuracy.
Professor Ahmed noted that, with the COVID-19 pandemic adding to cancer waiting lists, there is a real need to develop more efficient and cost-effective tests to diagnose prostate cancer.
Some additional information about prostate cancer
Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate grow uncontrollably. It progresses slowly and may not exhibit any signs or symptoms in the early stages. The following are signs and symptoms of advanced prostate cancer:
- Urination problems
- Reduced force in the urine stream
- Urine with blood in it
- Blood in the sperm
- Bone ache
- Losing weight without making an effort
- ED (erectile dysfunction)
- Prostate cancer most commonly affects men over the age of 50, and it is more common in men with a family history of the disease.