Professor Mark Emberton's team, from University College London (UCL), leads the development of the new one-shot test, to be done only once at 55, which promises to give men the reassuring awareness that they will not develop never prostate cancer.
The 10-minute scan, which can even be done during public prevention periods in busy areas such as shopping malls, would detect cancer years before the onset of the most obvious symptoms.
Subject to state funding, this new MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technique can kick off the first mass screening for prostate cancer.
In 2018 alone, prostate cancer in Italy recorded 35.000 new cases
While women have been invited for mammograms every 3 years for 50 to 70 years for years, male screenings have problems taking off due to the almost absence of symptoms, not to mention that the current test based on a blood draw has a margin of error of more than 15%, not a little for such a disease.
The new MRI-based test is not invasive, does not include injections or radiation and does not even require a doctor to be performed: it is clear that under these conditions people are examined continuously and without hesitation.
"Prostate cancer grows very slowly: for this reason, a favorable diagnosis at the age of 55-60 means in fact the impossibility of being affected,”Explains Emberton. “The nice thing about this method is that it will clean up many cases that would certainly occur due to the total absence of monitoring. It's a revolution. "
Emberton describes the test as "practically perfect". The results are classified with an easy color code: green equals everything ok, yellow the need for new screenings, red means that you need a specialist as soon as possible.
The cost is also relatively low, currently under € 200 but after the diffusion it can drop significantly, also thanks to AI-based devices that could "learn" to read the results quickly based on the previous ones and providing patients with a response over the arc. 24 hours.
Survival for men affected by prostate cancer has improved in recent decades, and also the side effects of the treatments (mostly impotence and incontinence) have been mitigated. By now 84% of patients survive well over 10 years after diagnosis.
Prostate cancer: some data
- 35.300 new cases diagnosed in 2018 in Italy;
- It is the most common among men;
- It affects one in eight men;
- Black people have double the incidence, one in four;
- Those who have had family cases have more than doubled their incidence;
- The diagnosis of cancer occurs today between the ages of 65 and 69;
The technical effectiveness of the new test has already been proven in two previous studies, and today it is tested as part of a program financed by the British state with 6.5 euros, which aims to definitively set the best age to undergo the exam .
Millions and millions of lives will soon be saved, it is truly comforting news.