Dr. Alice Green, Health Enterprise East (HEE), provides an insight into innovation in prostate biopsy that could reduce the risk of infection and make diagnosis safer for patients.
With more than 47,500 men diagnosed each year, prostate cancer is the most diagnosed male cancer in the UK, representing around 25% of all male cancers in the UK. The current mainstay method of diagnosing prostate cancer is with a needle biopsy of the prostate guided by a transrectal (TRUS) ultrasound probe inserted into the rectum. This method is commonly referred to as a transrectal ultrasound guided prostate biopsy (TRUSBx).
The problem, however, is that the TRUSBx method for prostate biopsies carries a significant risk of harmful side effects. This is because the needle traverses the rectal wall a number of times on the way to the prostate, which poses a large risk of infection. Despite preventative antibiotics, bacteria in the bowel inevitably enter the urinary system and blood stream, meaning a number of men develop infections.
In addition to the clinical ramifications this has for the patients, 10% report fever and chills and 1-2% severe sepsis, which both come with significant cost associations. In fact, costs associated with UK hospitalisation episodes for biopsy-related sepsis alone are estimated to be £7-11 million annually. With the number of men being referred increasing each year combined with the rise in antibiotic resistance, a new long-term method for carrying out prostate biopsies is urgently required.
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