"One Stop Shop" for faster Prostate Diagnosis

The new scanning and diagnosis method means a 'one-stop-shop' for suspected prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men in the UK, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year. 

The NHS is determined to cut the mortality rate for prostate cancer in the same way that has seen breast cancer rates decline by 10%. 

The usual process is an MRI scan followed by a biopsy where around a dozen samples may have to be taken with a needle through the rectum, in order to locate suspect growths on the prostate.

Under the new 'rapid pathway' approach, which is being developed in three hospitals across West London,  men have a scan, get their results and can have any necessary biopsy, using new FUSION technology, in one day, rather than multiple outpatient visits over four to six weeks.

The approach involves specialist clinical expertise as well as equipment and we're currently looking into how it could be rolled out to other major cancer centres across England.

The new technique uses highly detailed 'multi-parametric' MRI – mpMRI – scans, currently being rolled out across the NHS, which provide much higher quality imagery. Between a third and 40% of patients who have an mpMRI scan will find out on the same day that they do not have prostate cancer and can safely avoid having a biopsy. The machines are also able to pick up growths that are much harder to detect.

If a biopsy is needed, the new FUSION? machines will overlay ultrasound images with 3D MRI scans to create a highly detailed map of the prostate that can be used to accurately target suspect areas for taking tissue samples. The new system means an area as small as a grain of rice can be hit first time. 

This precision allows clinicians to insert the needle through the perineum, rather than the rectum, reducing the risk of infection from between 2% to 6% to around one case in 500. 

This new approach is being piloted at Charing Cross Hospital, Epsom Hospital and Queen Mary's Hospital in Roehampton by RM Partners, the Cancer Alliance for west London.


« Back

Shaping excellence in cancer care - prevention and access to high quality cancer services across the East of England