Will prostate cancer be treated more effectively in the future?
Prostate cancer is a condition that unfortunately affects many men around the world. Researchers have now developed a more successful form of prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment that could save millions of lives in the future.
In their current study, Dundee University scientists found that new imaging techniques are more accurate and reliable in diagnosing prostate cancer. This could lead to improved treatment of the disease in the future. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of Urology".
What is prostate cancer?
Prostate cancer is a malignant tumor that leads to the death of many affected people worldwide. In Germany, too, about three out of a hundred men die of the disease. In men with cancer, this cancer causes about ten percent of all deaths. This makes prostate cancer the third most common fatal cancer in men.
New method is much more accurate
An ultrasound process called shear wave elastography can achieve much greater accuracy and reliability in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. This method is non-invasive and less expensive than the currently used method. The current diagnosis and treatment methods for prostate cancer are still significantly incorrect, say the scientists. The most common tests for prostate cancer include a so-called PSA blood test, a physical exam of the prostate (known as digital rectal exam), MRI scans, and a biopsy.
Problems with previous treatments
Each of these forms presents significant problems. The PSA test is not offered as a standard treatment and the results can be unreliable, the doctors explain. A digital rectal exam cannot reliably determine whether an ulcer is benign and what form of treatment is needed. MRI scans are not available everywhere and cannot always give a definitive answer. The biopsy is invasive, carries a risk of infection and is expensive, the experts add.
Current diagnosis of prostate cancer is extremely inefficient
Prostate cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to locate. "We are still in a position where the diagnosis of prostate cancer is extremely inefficient, leading to unnecessary treatments for many patients," study author Professor Ghulam Nabi of Dundee University said in a press release. "The new method we developed shows that we can reach a much higher level of diagnosis, including identifying the difference between cancerous and benign tissue without invasive surgery," added the expert.
Early detection and diagnosis are crucial
Early diagnosis is the key to a successful end result of therapy. The news of the current breakthrough comes at just the right time - at a time when prostate cancer is increasingly becoming the focus of public awareness, not least because of the worrying upward trend in its prevalence.
Ultrasound is more accurate
In the newly developed method, the prostate is examined using ultrasound. Cancer tissue is stiffer than normal tissue, and when the shear waves penetrate the cancer tissue, they slow down, doctors say. This effect can be measured and used to develop images of the cancerous area with a definition and accuracy that surpasses other scanning methods such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Examination identified 89 percent of cancers
The technology has been able to detect 89 percent of prostate cancers, identify more aggressive cancers, and those that spread outside the prostate. “It's like someone turned on the lights in a darkened room. We can now see with more accuracy which tissue is cancerous, where it is and what level of treatment it needs, ”explains the expert.
More research is needed
This is a significant advance in the detection and treatment of prostate cancer. The investigation included approximately 200 patients. Further research is now needed to obtain additional information. But the new method clearly has the potential to fundamentally change the way prostate cancer is treated, the doctors add. (as)