NHS gets green light to use new prostate cancer detection tools

In some instances the current tests used to confirm a prostate cancer diagnosis can carry a risk of infection.

15 February 2022

Men who may have prostate cancer are to benefit from new diagnostic tools which have been approved for use on the NHS.

In some instances the current tests used to confirm a prostate cancer diagnosis can carry a risk of infection.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has approved four tests for NHS use which carry a lower risk of infection.

Men with suspected prostate cancer are currently given an MRI scan and if this suggests prostate cancer, the patient will be offered a biopsy to confirm.

A sample of the prostate is collected under local anaesthetic for analysis.

There are two methods for performing biopsy – transrectal ultrasound guided (TRUS) biopsy and a local anaesthetic transperineal (LATP) biopsy.

A Men pin badge (Simon Galloway/PA)
A Men pin badge (Simon Galloway/PA)

Nice said that TRUS can be associated with serious infections, sometimes requiring hospital admission and antibiotics.

The body has approved four new LATP biopsy devices for use in the NHS in England as options for helping to diagnose prostate cancer.

It said that the rates of detection of cancer do not differ between each type of biopsy and that the LATP is more cost effective for the NHS.

Dr Mark Kroese, chairman of the Nice diagnostics advisory committee, said: “People with suspected prostate cancer can now have a different option when it comes to having a biopsy.

“The committee heard from patient experts that there are concerns they are not getting clear and accurate information about having a biopsy, they are worried about an associated risk of infection, and the severity and duration of side effects.

“LATP using a freehand needle positioning device for taking a prostate biopsy should reduce unnecessary infections and therefore antibiotic use, benefiting both the patient and the NHS.”

Chiara De Biase, director of support and influencing at Prostate Cancer UK says: “LATP biopsies have been available on the NHS for several years and are a quick and cost-effective way of detecting prostate cancer.

“Most importantly, however, they result in fewer cases of infection and sepsis than more traditional TRUS biopsies, and ultimately cause less harm to men.

“That’s why we’re pleased that this technique will now be more widely available to men where clinically appropriate.”

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