A revolutionary new method to detect prostate cancer developed at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital has already helped doctors spot a cancer in one man which would otherwise have gone unnoticed.
A total of 130 patients have been taking part in a two-year trial at the hospital, which saw MRI scans used to investigate whether they had prostate cancer.
Currently all men identified as potentially having prostate cancer are sent for an untargeted biopsy, which is an invasive procedure that was found in the trial to be unreliable.
This was certainly the case for 58-year-old Stephen Turlin, from Basingstoke, who saw his MRI scan pick up a cancer that the biopsy missed.
He has since made a full recovery, but had he not taken part in the trial his cancer would have gone undetected.
Mr Turlin said: “I would certainly recommend the MRI to anyone, just because it can pick up on things that the biopsy might miss.
“My cancer might have gone undiagnosed, so I’m really pleased that I agreed to take part in the trial.
“I feel proud that I was able to be a part of this. I decided to do it to try and help other men and hopefully with the results they have got, that will be the case.”
The trial found MRI scans provide much better results with 93 per cent of aggressive cancers being identified – nearly double the figure from the untargeted biopsy process.
The NHS is now reviewing whether the outcomes of the trial can be implemented across the country, with MRI scans now being used regularly at Basingstoke Hospital in the first instance.
Another patient who took part in the trial was 73-year-old Raymond Ripton, from Old Basing.
He had an MRI scan first before undergoing a targeted and untargeted biopsy, with all three tests coming back negative.
The results of the trial showed that he wouldn’t have needed to have been sent for a biopsy at all.
Mr Ripton said: “It’s really good news because it means that a good proportion of men will not have to go through the biopsy, which is not a particularly pleasant procedure.
“Hopefully the knowledge that the MRI scan is a much more accurate way to detect cancer will put men’s minds at rest in the future.”
Richard Hindley, a consultant urologist who was a member of the trial management group, said: “The results of the trial are amazing.
“What happens in the UK now will be felt around the world – we can improve outcomes and change the way we treat men with suspected prostate cancer for the better.
“It was a real team effort, with the urology, pathology, radiology, trials and research and development departments all involved, as well as staff in the operating theatres.”