Breakthrough made by Irish scientists could make prostate cancer diagnosis more accurate
Irish scientists have made a breakthrough which could make the diagnosis of prostate cancer more accurate and less painful.
A group of patients in St James's Hospital in Dublin will be the first to undergo a trial of the new diagnosis method which involves the use of an MRI scan.
It involves injecting a dye into a patient and taking a series of images as it leaks in and out of tissue in the prostate.
Cancerous prostate tissue tends to be leakier than healthier tissue, so this could help in highlighting the presence of a tumour.
It was developed by Imaging Physics Group School of Medicine in Trinity College and the National Centre of Advanced Medical Imaging in St James's.
A spokesman for the Irish Cancer Society said this DCE-MRI had shown in research studies to offer significant improvement in prostate cancer detection.
Around 3,400 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer annually.
There is no one test for the disease and various steps are needed before reaching a diagnosis.
Initially it involves a PSA blood test and digital rectal exam, followed by a potentially painful and sometimes inaccurate biopsy procedure.
The patient may be given a local anaesthetic to minimise any discomfort.
The cancer charity's spokesman said a small number of patients would undergo a trial of the new form of MRI-based detection which was the work of Phd student Silvin Knight.
Funding was provided by the Irish Cancer Society from the proceeds of 'Movember', which is a global charity that raises money for research into key health issues faced by men.
The charity's head of research Dr Robert O'Connor said one in eight men was at risk of developing prostate cancer.
"More research is vital in order to tackle this growing epidemic of prostate cancer," he added.
The earlier the cancer is detected, the better the prognosis.