Australian doctors have found a new way to detect prostate cancer and now men will not have to get painful needles pierced in their rectum in order to find out about the presence of the disease.
The study conducted by urologist Dr Les Thompson and radiographer Dr Rob Parkinson and supported by Queensland's Wesley Research Institute used an MRI scanner to detect affected areas in the prostate.
After targeting the area, a needle took a tiny tissue sample to be analysed in the lab. The entire process lasts for about 30 minutes. The present process needs up to 30 random needle biopsies to locate tumours in the prostate.
Dr Parkinson said the new method gives details about the size, degree and aggressiveness of tumours. The prostate MRI scan costs about $500.
Dr Thompson says the present method is uncomfortable and less accurate. He said, "There's been a lot of over-treatment, men have unfortunately suffered the side-effects of those treatments like impotence and incontinence, in retrospect, unnecessarily."
Prostate cancer survivor Peter Dornan said the medical, social and emotional costs of having or being misdiagnosed with prostate cancer were high.
"This is a big help for urologists in deciding what the best treatment option for the patient is," Dr Parkinson said.