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New screening test for prostate cancer

New screening test for prostate cancer 

It has been reported in the news that hundreds of UK men are to try a new screening test for prostate cancer.

The results of the trial will be used to determine whether the test should be offered routinely on the NHS.

Current testing for prostate cancer is very limited.

At the moment it is a blood test, called PSA. It checks for high levels of a protein that might be an indicator that the patient has prostate cancer.

It is not reliable, can provide false positives and has also been known to miss cancers.

The figures quoted in the press are that this blood test can miss more than one in 10 cancers.

Or it can fail to spot whether the cancer is aggressive, and cause side-effects, including bleeding, serious infections and erectile dysfunction.

The new test is a non-invasive MRI scan that takes images of the inside of the body to check for any abnormal growths.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer kills approximately 11,800 men each year in the UK. It usually develops slowly so there may be no signs or symptoms for many years.

The prostate is a small gland that sits underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra - the tube men urinate through.

What is the treatment for prostate cancer?

For many men with prostate cancer, treatment is not immediately necessary - doctors may suggest watchful waiting or surveillance.  More aggressive prostate cancer will need immediate treatment, which includes surgery and radiotherapy.

Melanie Lidstone-Land, Senior Associate at Swain & Co is one of a dedicated team of medical negligence lawyers who regularly act for clients who have received a misdiagnosis or a late diagnosis of cancer.  Melanie says,

“A diagnosis of cancer is devastating at any time.  If it is diagnosed incorrectly or too late, the results can be far reaching and, sometimes, mean that the patient has to undergo far more invasive treatment, endure the spread of cancer or, in extreme cases face a terminal diagnosis.”

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