New research on prostate cancer diagnosis

24 January 2017


As part of Bupa’s commitment to use the latest evidence and up-to-date techniques and equipment in diagnostics, Bupa Cromwell Hospital and Health Clinics in London have introduced a prostate cancer diagnosis pathway as part of the London Care initiative.

Bupa started looking into less intrusive ways of detecting prostate cancer back in 2012, with a particular focus on using MRI scans rather than biopsies. In 2016, we started working closely with Dr Hashim Ahmen, a consultant urologist at the Cromwell Hospital and together we designed the prostate cancer diagnosis pathway across Bupa Clinics (for diagnostics) and into Bupa Cromwell Hospital (for treatment).

The benefits include:

  • Shorter and more concise route to treatment therefore saving the patient time
  • Customer convenience as the patients records are shared from the Bupa clinic they visit through to Bupa Cromwell
  • Faster referral and treatment
  • Bupa members with suspected prostate cancer are also able to have a MRI scan in one of more than 70 approved clinics across in England, Scotland and Wales and can be referred through their urologist

Dr Ahmed is one of the lead investigators and the first author on the PROMIS trial, published in The Lancet on 20 January 2017. This trial evaluated the accuracy of multi-parametric MRI (MP-MRI) prior to a first prostate biopsy and compared it to an upfront transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) guided biopsy in men with an elevated PSA (a key indicator of possible prostate cancer). The trial was conducted in 11 NHS centres which were able to do high quality scans and reported by expert radiologists. It found:

  • One quarter of men had a non-suspicious MP-MRI and approximately 90% of such men did not have clinically important cancers
  • TRUS biopsy sensitivity for clinically important cancers was only 48% - MP-MRI had a sensitivity of 93%

Dr Hashim Ahmed, consultant at Bupa Cromwell Hospital said: "The results of this study, which provide level 1 evidence, reinforce our innovative and streamlined high quality prostate pathway. I'm excited that this study should now lead to a large impact on the many tens of thousands of men around the UK who are currently undergoing an inaccurate and sometimes harmful TRUS biopsy. Our prostate pathway also incorporates image-fusion transperineal biopsies rather than transrectal biopsies which reduces life-threatening sepsis from 2-4% with TRUS biopsies to 1 in 500."

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