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Men in large parts of Wales without access to 'biggest breakthrough in prostate cancer diagnosis for decades’

Credit: PA

Patients in large parts of Wales don't have access to the latest diagnostic scans for prostate cancer, according to charity Prostate Cancer UK.

The charity found that 18 months after a trial found the PROMIS diagnostic scan could successfully detect prostate cancer before a biopsy, only 3 out of 7 health boards in Wales are providing it to patients. Out of those three, only two, Aneurin Bevan and Cwm Taf, are providing mpMRI to a high enough standard to safely rule men out of biopsy.

In England, 92% of areas offer the new diagnostic scan.

Prostate Cancer UK are urging the Welsh Government to prioritise the introduction of the scan for men with suspected prostate cancer.

Mr Jim Wilson, Chair of the Welsh Urology Board says the results of the FOI request are disappointing.

The Freedom of Information data in Wales paints a disappointing picture. High quality mpMRI before biopsy benefits patients through more accurate diagnosis and by safely ruling out unnecessary biopsies. Men in Wales should not be denied these benefits which are being made available to men in England.

Waiting until April 2019 for the updated NICE guidelines will only cause Wales to fall further behind. The evidence is already published and now that additional support materials such as the clinical consensus are available there can be no further excuses for dragging their heels. I hope that urgent work can be done to ensure that all men in Wales are able to benefit from this technique in the future.

– Jim Wilson, Chair of the Welsh Urology Board

A Welsh Government spokesperson said:

The routine use of a multiparametric MRI scan before prostate biopsy is not currently recommended by NICE but they are reviewing the guidelines on this in light of new evidence. Once we know the outcome of the review by NICE, we would expect health boards to revise their diagnostic pathways accordingly. Health boards are already considering the potential impact of the revised guideline through the Wales Urology Board.

– Welsh Government Spokeperson