August 10, 2016 – Avoiding Unnecessary Treatment


Anchor lead: Can better technology reduce the number of prostate biopsies? Elizabeth Tracey reports

More aggressive prostate cancers are diagnosed using MRI guided biopsy than the traditional approach, a Johns Hopkins study led by Ballantine Carter, a prostate cancer expert, has shown.  Carter says the technique also overcomes some other problems.

Carter: One of the biggest problems is if you do a systematic biopsy which is the old fashioned way and you didn’t find cancer we were always worried that we may have missed a prostate cancer and then 50% of people over a five year period would undergo a repeat biopsy. The other point about MRI, if a man has magnetic resonance imaging and the MRI doesn’t show anything significant, there’s over a 90% probability that that person does not have a serious prostate cancer, so this is one way to reduce the number of biopsies that are being done unnecessarily.   :31

Carter says the MRI guided technique may help reduce some of the overdiagnosis and overtreatment criticisms that have plagued the field, and the technique is increasingly available nationwide.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.