1 in 8 men in the UK will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in their lifetime. Despite being the most common cancer in men, there is no national screening programme for prostate cancer because research thus far has shown that the current tests available don't reduce the number of men dying from prostate cancer.
Cancer Research UK’s CAP Clinical Trial looked at whether a single PSA blood test, commonly used to look for prostate cancer, would reduce the number of men dying from it. The Trial involved over 400,000 men between the ages of 50 and 69 where half the men were offered a PSA blood test and the other half weren't. The results in early 2018 showed that the number of men dying from prostate cancer was the same in both groups. This was after 10 years of follow up and undoubtedly demonstrates that more research is required to find a better screening test.
Hopefully, the planned Clinical Trial involving a new type of MRI scan proves to be successful at detecting prostate cancer faster and more accurately than the current tests that are available.
Whilst its success may not necessarily lead to a national screening programme, at the very least it will reduce screening times, significantly increase the number of men that can be screened annually and make the screening process more cost effective for the NHS.
"It's £100 to £150 pounds less expensive than the mpMRI scan. It also means we can increase capacity and do more scans. You are able to do twice or even three times as many scans in the same time frame, which is significant when the NHS is struggling with capacity. In the UK, we do 120,000 to 150,000 scans a year so there is potential for a large cost saving over a number of years."