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Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. This year alone, around 300,000 men will be diagnosed with the disease, and around 35,000 will die from it.
Detecting it early is the key to treating it. And now there's a new tool to make detection easier.
When prostate cancer is suspected, one of the biggest problems has always been trying to find out precisely where it is and how extensive it is. Now a new kind of mri scan could help answer those questions.
Traditional mri scans simply show location. But new software allows this version to show how big and how active it is.
Dr. Fergus Coakley/ UCSF Radiologist: "WE HAVE SHOWN THAT IT HELPS US IN LOCALIZING THE TUMOR, IN STAGING THE TUMOR AND IN ESTIMATING THE SIZE OF THE TUMOR. ALL OF THESE ARE ASPECTS THAT ARE IMPROVED BY THIS EXTRA INFORMATION."
The new test, called prose, allows physicians to map out more than one thousand different segments of the prostate and analyse each one.
Healthy portions are easy to spot. So are cancerous ones.
For patients and physicians that information is critical.
DR. FERGUS COAKLEY: "IT HELPS PARTICULARLY THE PATIENT WHO IS UNDECIDED AS TO TREATMENT. AND OF COURSE IN THE BIG PICTURE THE PROBLEM FOR PATIENTS WITH PROSTATE CANCER IS KNOWING WHAT IS THE BEST TREATMENT FOR THEM, WHETHER TO GO FOR WATCHFUL WAITING, SURGERY OR RADIATION."
After a blood test and biopsy confirmed Charles Roach had cancer, the prose scan gave him the extra information he needed in choosing a treatment option.
Charles Roach/ Prostate Cancer Patient: "I AM 75 YEARS OLD. THIS HAS PROBABLY BEEN COMING FOR YEARS. THE FACT THAT WE DISCOVERED IT RATHER EARLY, RATHER PAINLESSLY, HAVE CONFIRMED IT AND HAVE NOW OUTLINED WHAT CAN BE DONE, I'D SAY IS VERY ENCOURAGING."
The hope is that one day the prose scan will become the male equivalent of a mammogram, identifying a problem and giving people the information they need to decide how to treat it.
The scan is around 80-percent accurate. That is better than existing alternatives.
However, it is not yet a replacement for blood tests and biopsies.