Hundreds of men in the UK are trialling a new prostate cancer screening scan to see if it could eventually be offered on the NHS.
Right now, there is no routine prostate cancer screening performed in the UK. Blood tests and biopsies are the most reliable ways to determine if a man has prostate cancer. The new test involves a non-invasive MRI scan that checks the inside of the body for any abnormal growths.
It will be a few years yet before we know if the new scan is better than the current blood tests, scientists say, but NHS England is, nevertheless, hailing the breakthrough as a “potentially exciting development”.
In the UK alone, prostate cancer claims the lives of around 11,800 men every year. It usually develops slowly, so there are often no associated signs or symptoms for many years.
Prostate cancer treatment depends on its development. Doctors may suggest to monitor the situation first, while surgery and radiotherapy will be advised for others.
Speaking about the new test, Karen Stalbow, from Prostate Cancer UK, said: “This trial could provide an exciting step towards our ambition for a national screening programme that enables men to get the early prostate cancer diagnosis that can save more lives.”