New Method of Diagnosing Prostate Cancer Better Discovered by Researchers at UCLA

December 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Prostate Cancer News

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Diagnosing prostate Cancer is one of the most difficult problems or experiences for patients and their doctors. The truth is that the common methods applied to diagnose the condition often are not reliable, so it becomes really important to checkout other options that would become effective.

The prostate specific antigen (PSA) test is a common blood test used to find out if a person has prostate cancer. However, this test can be unreliable and gives false positives because there are other factors that may cause the PSA level in the blood to rise.

Conditions like prostate infection, prostate enlargement or Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, and even bicycle ride can increase the PSA level (PSA is a kind of protein produced by the prostate gland. An elevated amount of it means that cancer is present in the prostate).

If a doctor suspects prostate cancer after conducting the PSA test, he may advice to the patient to undergo biopsy. This is a procedure where by a special needle is used to extract some tissues of the prostate so they can be examined under a microscope. The aim is to stage the tumor and show how aggressive it has become. However, this procedure is often stressful, painful and could be unreliable because the extracted tissue may miss the cancer cells.

So, to save the time and stress of these undergoing painful biopsies which may miss out the cancer tumors, Dr. Leonard Marks, a Professor of Urology and his colleagues at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has developed a new method of testing prostate cancer more accurately. The new method combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Ultrasound in guiding doctors to detect prostate cancer easily.

Details of the findings of their research in which 53% of 171 volunteers were tested positive have been published in the Journal of Urology.

Still on the above research, Maggie Fox of NBC News published an article December 10, 2012 in MSNBC. In the article, it was revealed that: The findings could help solve one of the biggest problems of prostate cancer. There’s a blood analysis called a PSA test that can help doctors guess that a man may be developing prostate cancer. Prostate specific antigen or PSA is made only by prostate cells — and they produce a lot more of it when they are cancerous.

Moreover, the concluding part of the article, the following points were made: Targeting biopsies won’t solve the problems caused by PSA screenings, but they can help doctors and patients decide sooner whether a man really does need treatment for his cancer.

Marks and colleagues said if a tumor looked dangerous on an MRI, the biopsy usually confirmed that it was.

“Biopsy findings correlate with the level of suspicion on MRI. Targeted prostate biopsy has the potential to improve the diagnosis of prostate cancer and may aid in the selection of patients for active surveillance and focal therapy,” Marks’s team wrote.

So, men should consider this new approach to have their cancer detected accurately and fast with hope that it study would be validated as a standard diagnostic method.

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