Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men across the UK. Current statistics show that more than 47,500 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that’s 129 men every day.
There aren’t any proven prevention strategies for prostate cancer, but maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is recommended. If your GP thinks you are at risk of having prostate cancer, you might be referred for further tests such as a PSA test, MRI scan or a biopsy.
A biopsy is usually the most reliable way to tell if a person has prostate cancer. After the biopsy is taken, a pathologist must perform a methodical and rigorous review of the biopsy. This process can be time-consuming and sometimes faulty due to diagnostic errors.
However, new hospitals across England are joining a pioneering study to solve this very issue. The study will aim to improve the analysis of prostate cancer biopsies using Artificial Intelligence. Funded as part of the £140 million NHSX AI in Health and Care awards, six new NHS trusts will kick-start this ground-breaking trial.
The AI technology is called Galen™ Prostate, developed by health tech company, Ibex Medical Analytics. The funding will allow hospitals to compare the results of the AI analysis to a pathologist’s analysis using samples of biopsies from 600 men over 14 months. The AI technology has the potential to reduce diagnosis wait times, improve the accuracy of the biopsy analysis, and free up clinician’s valuable time.
This will be the largest multi-site deployment of AI in the UK, and it’s exciting to see these pioneering technologies being embraced by the NHS.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said:
“Artificial intelligence has the potential to transform our health and care system and studies like this are vital in understanding the impact AI can make.
The earlier cancer is detected the quicker it is treated leading to better outcomes for patients, so this ground-breaking work has the potential to benefit thousands of people.”
If the study is successful, the AI technology will potentially be incorporated into more pathology labs across the healthcare service.
Early detection is key, and hopefully this technology will enable clinicians to make a quicker diagnosis and refer patients for necessary treatments sooner.
A biopsy is still a very invasive procedure, and sometimes it’s not easy to make the decision to have the procedure. A non-invasive test, like a blood test, could give reassurance that a biopsy is the best next step for your health.
Is there a blood test for prostate cancer?
Currently, the PSA test, a blood test that measures your PSA levels, is a common first point of information. A raised PSA level in your blood may be a sign of prostate cancer. But the test isn’t perfect, around 3 in 4 men with a raised PSA level will not have cancer. The PSA test can also miss about 15% of cancers.
It’s understandable that someone would rather put off the invasive biopsy procedure if there isn’t enough evidence of prostate cancer. But, if there is cancer in the body, putting off a biopsy lessens the chance of catching the cancer at a treatable stage.
Our early detection cancer blood test, PanTum Detect, can detect all cancers, including prostate cancer. A PanTum Detect test alongside the PSA test could give patients and clinicians more information to decide the next steps forward.
A positive PanTum Detect test combined with high PSA levels could encourage patients that a biopsy is necessary, and hopefully catch the cancer at an early stage.
Using pioneering technologies can make early detection more feasible and make a lasting impact on how we view cancer care. By encouraging new trials and studies, and making funding available, we can revolutionise the way we diagnose and treat cancer.
If you would like to partner with RMDM or find out more about PanTum Detect, please get in touch via our contact form.