MRIs can be costly and time-consuming, not to mention a bit intimidating, but perhaps that won’t be necessary in the future. This is thanks to researchers over in the UK who have developed a new method, published in Lancet Oncology, that uses ultrasound scanning whose accuracy is on par with those of an MRI.
What this means is that it is possible that clinicians will be able to quickly test patients for potential prostate cancer without the hassle of putting a patient through an MRI machine. According to Hashim Ahmed, the lead author on the study, having an alternative and accurate way of testing for prostate cancer is a good thing.
“Although effective these scans are expensive, take up to 40 minutes to perform and are not easily available to all. As cancer waiting lists build as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a real need to find more efficient and cheaper tests to diagnose prostate cancer.”
Based on their tests so far, the ultrasound method only detected 4.3% fewer cases compared to the MRI, but it also managed to pick up several clinically significant cases that the MRI scan missed. We’re not sure when this method is expected to be put into rotation, but it’s good to see progress is being made.