Prostate Cancer Awareness Month - Stop Random Biopsies

The Crusade for Greater Prostate Imaging Awareness in Men with Prostate Cancer

Sep 17, 2014, 13:00 ET from Prostate Oncology Specialists, Inc.

MARINA DEL REY, Calif., Sept. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Prostate Oncology Specialists announces the launch of the Prostate Vanguard, an awareness campaign to educate men about new imaging technology destined to replace multiple rectal needle biopsies of the prostate. Annually, a million men undergo random needle biopsy of the prostate gland through the rectum. Multi-parametric MRI (MP-MRI) of the prostate gland is non-invasive alternative for diagnosing clinically-significant prostate cancer (CSPC). Men need to be fully informed of their alternatives.

Random needle biopsy is a multibillion dollar industry performed in one-million men annually.  Random biopsy is the direct cause of the unfortunate diagnosis of clinically insignificant prostate cancer (CIS-PC) in over 100,000 men annually in the US, leading to rampant overuse of unnecessary radical treatment with surgery or radiation.

Mark Scholz, MD, Medical Director of Prostate Oncology Specialists, Executive Director of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute, and author of Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers, devotes his medical practice exclusively to prostate cancer patients and advocates for raising awareness about the importance of unnecessary biopsies.

Dr. Scholz states, "With new imaging technology, the medical world has the ability to track, measure, and observe small abnormalities in the prostate, which saves men from having to undergo random biopsies which lead to misdiagnosis and overtreatment."

Prostate Cancer Survivor, Steven Schwartz, was given a 14 needle random biopsy after his doctor found a small bump on his prostate. The biopsy failed to find any cancer but there was still no explanation for the bump.  Mr. Schwartz consulted Dr. Scholz for a second opinion and underwent a targeted biopsy utilizing only 3 sticks. All three biopsy cores came back positive for prostate cancer. "Because I had a targeted biopsy, I was saved from overtreatment and was able to have a less invasive process. I am extremely happy with the results."

Prior to MP-MRI, random needle biopsy was the only way to confirm the diagnosis of prostate cancer and obtain accurate information about the extent of disease inside the prostate gland. Studies show MP-MRI is more accurate than the prevailing method of using random needle biopsy through the rectum.

12-core random needle biopsy of the prostate has been the de facto standard for 20 years. However, random biopsies miss CSPC 15% of the time and 3% of men end up in the hospital with uncontrolled infections. In approximately one out of every 3,000 biopsy procedures, the infectious complications are fatal. Recurrent biopsies, such as those done to men on active surveillance, are invasive, effect erectile function, and incur an escalating risk infection with each subsequent biopsy.

Until recently, the needle biopsy procedure itself was perceived as being reasonably safe, even though there are reported complications. Two studies released in 2013 indicate that random needle biopsy is nowhere near as innocuous as most physicians assume.  At the American Urology Association meeting in May of 2013, doctors from Memorial Sloan Kettering reported infectious complications in biopsies, requiring hospitalization 2.8% of the time. In a separate study at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, Dr. Boniol from the International Prevention Research Institute reported that 1.3 deaths occurred for every 1,000 men who undergo biopsy.

Dr. Scholz adds, "MP-MRI is a revolutionary new development that allows men's prostates to be evaluated by noninvasive means. When MP-MRI scanning detects a suspicious abnormality within the prostate, further evaluation can be performed with a targeted needle biopsy. Studies show that a targeted needle biopsy is more likely to diagnose CSPC while utilizing 90% fewer needle biopsies to make the diagnosis. When MP-MRI shows CSPC is absent, the need for needle biopsy is eliminated altogether. When MP-MRI detects a suspicious abnormality, a targeted needle biopsy can be directed to the area of the prostate gland where the disease is located, thus eliminating the need to randomly jab needles all over the prostate. The net result is a dramatic reduction in the number needle biopsies."

Prostate Oncology Specialists launched the Prostate Vanguard, a web site and email newsletter to inform patients and their families that un-targeted, random needle biopsies are no longer the "gold standard" of treatment and that the revolutionary advancements in prostate imaging could save them from unnecessary risks to their quality of life. 

To learn more about Prostate Vanguard, subscribe to our email list |

About Prostate Oncology Specialists, Inc.
Established in 1995, Prostate Oncology Specialists has earned national acclaim for its comprehensive approach to prostate cancer prevention and management.

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SOURCE Prostate Oncology Specialists, Inc.