Good news on the cancer front: A new, highly targeted form of biopsy may be more successful at detecting cancer than the conventional biopsy approach, says a new study published in The Journal of Urology.
Researchers from UCLA monitored 171 men, some of whom had slow-growing prostate cancers. The rest of the men previously had negative biopsies, but maintained persistently high PSA levels, which indicates a tumor may be present. The researchers gave patients a targeted prostate biopsy combining both magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) and real-time ultrasound.
The results: Ninety of the men (over 52 percent) were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 38 percent of the cancers found were aggressive tumors.
The targeted prostate biopsy is ultimately more beneficial to you because it detects cancers that conventional biopsies miss, study author Leonard Marks, M.D., a professor of urology and director of the UCLA Active Surveillance Program, tells MensHealth.com.
“Prostate cancer is being diagnosed today almost exactly the same as it was being diagnosed 25 years ago,” Dr. Marks says. “And the methods need to be updated. They need to be better.”
The new method is a step in the right direction. A standard biopsy is done blindly, which means your doctor uses an ultrasound to see the prostate—but ultrasounds don’t show tumors. With a targeted prostate biopsy, however, doctors can see what they’re aiming for, Dr. Marks says.
Here’s how it works: First, an MRI is done in order to visualize your prostate. Radiologists then analyze the MRI, looking for any suspicious areas on the gland. Afterward, detailed images are used to create a three-dimensional replica of your prostate. And that 3-D replica is then fused with a real-time ultrasound, basically serving as a road map that leads doctors to the suspicious area for biopsy.
When doctors are able to see the suspicious lesion, they have the advantage of knowing what’s going on inside the prostate, which leads to finding tumors that may not show up using conventional biopsies. The new method is particularly useful for men who partake in active surveillance, Dr. Marks says.
The method isn’t available to the general public yet, since additional research is needed to validate its benefits. But in the meantime, there are plenty of proven ways you can reduce your risk of prostate cancer, like drinking more coffee: Harvard researchers found that men who drank six or more cups of regular or decaf coffee were 59 percent less likely to develop advanced prostate cancer than those who eschewed the brew. For five more steps, follow Your Gland-Prevention Plan.
Additional research by Maria Masters
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