Is MRI first the way forward for screening?

A simple MRI scan is about to be trialled in the UK as a new means of screening men for prostate cancer. Researchers at University College London Hospital will invite 1,000 men aged 55 to 75 for scans through two London GP surgeries.

They are investigating whether quick scans, which will cost around £150 and take ten minutes, are more reliable at identifying dangerous cancers than PSA blood tests. Professor Mark Emberton, who is leading the research has said he hopes they will revolutionise the way we diagnose prostate cancer, and identify those men who need treatment most.

Andre Deschamps, Europa Uomo’s Chair, welcomed the research but said the new technique remained to be proved. “Using an MRI only as a replacement for a PSA test is still very debatable,” he said. “There are issues of capacity and cost. A PSA test costs €10, and a rough estimate is you can release around 70% of men from further testing after one or two favourable PSA tests.”

“The EAU guidelines have recently changed to advise a PSA test and then an MRI scan if there is a suspicion of cancer. This study will provide more data to inform the best way forward.”

You can read more about the research at

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