Posted 8:00 AM 12/17/2012 : New and less invasive way to detect prostate cancer
A major advancement in Prostate Cancer Research could help early detection. There aren't tests for Prostate Cancer that are as good as mammograms for Breast Cancer, but a new target biopsy is a major step forward.
As if one prostate needle biopsy is unpleasant enough, Don Buck had two of them. He got them because his PSA levels had shot up dramatically, from 2 to 13.
"It's more like a pinch, but it is in a sensitive area," says Buck.
In conventional biopsies, doctors insert a needle into the prostate and take up to 24 random tissue samples to test if cancer is present. But for Buck, nothing turned up.
"I thought, well, perhaps there's something wrong with the PSA test."
Buck's wife convinced him to get a new type of biopsy, one that is far more precise and may be more accurate.
"Rather than doing a systematic blind biopsy of the prostate, we can now do a targeted biopsy and do a direct assessment of the tumor. Previously this was impossible," says Dr. Leonard Marks, a urologist.
Patients first get an MRI that pinpoints the subtle differences between normal and cancerous tissue. Those MRI images are then superimposed over the live images of the prostate done during the biopsy so the doctor can be sure he's biopsying the right area.
"So what this allows us to do is to put the needle directly into the tumor. And to evaluate the size of the tumor and the severity of the tumor," says Dr. Marks.
The target biopsy found invasive cancer in Buck's prostate. The good news is that it was caught early. Doctors say if he had just let it go, it would have quickly spread.
Doctors say you shouldn't rely on the PSA alone. They recommend that men get an exam as well as a PSA test. A biopsy may be necessary, if you need one, be sure to ask about the new option.