Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with more than 47,000 new cases diagnosed every year. And up until now, the most widely used tests for the disease had included the PSA blood test, a digital rectal examination (DRE), MRI scans and a biopsy. However, each of these wasn’t without its problems.
But now a new ultrasound process, which offers more successful diagnosis and management of prostate cancer, has been identified by researchers at Dundee University.
The technique, known as non-invasive shear wave elastography (SWE), offers "much greater accuracy and reliability" than current methods and is less expensive, according to the researchers.
It targets the prostate with ultrasound and was evaluated using a study at Dundee University involving around 200 patients.
Because cancerous tissue is denser than normal tissue, the shear waves are slowed as they pass through it. During the study, the technique was able to successfully identify 89% of prostate cancers, as well as other more aggressive cancers, including those spreading outside of the prostate.
Ghulam Nabi, professor of surgical uro-oncology at Dundee University, said, "Prostate cancer is one of the most difficult to pinpoint.
"We are still in a position where our diagnosis of prostate cancer is extremely inefficient, leading to unnecessary treatments for many patients."
Speaking about the new test, Prof Nabi said it was “like someone has turned the lights on in a darkened room."